uOttawa Heart Institute hosts global gathering of cardiac surgeons at AVRS for first time in North America

Canada’s Parliament Buildings in Ottawa, Ontario.

“It’s the first time an aortic valve repair conference of this calibre has been held in Ottawa.”

– Dr. Munir Boodhwani

The Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa strives to offer innovative events for the professional development of its faculty members. This year, members can take part in a one-of-a-kind opportunity from June 23 to 25.

For the first time ever, the Aortic Valve Repair Summit (AVRS) will be held in North America, boasting world’s biggest gathering of international experts sharing knowledge of the technique and exposing surgeons to new methods of life-saving heart repair.

“It’s the first time an aortic valve repair conference of this calibre has been held in Ottawa,” says Dr. Munir Boodhwani, Chair of the organizing committee and surgeon with summit host University of Ottawa Heart Institute (UOHI). “We’re thrilled to host it here, especially with Ottawa being the epicentre of Canada’s 150th celebrations.”

This largest conference in the world on aortic valve repair will focus on the most innovative, durable techniques and ground-breaking research in this area, featuring international expert faculty, research presentations, live demonstrations and a skills lab.

A leaking aortic valve in the heart is a serious medical condition. Dr. Boodhwani, associate professor at the uOttawa Faculty of Medicine, says traditional valve replacement poses a risk of side effects and complications. New techniques, however, allow valve repair instead of replacement. This summit will allow surgeons to see live demonstrations of the techniques, expanding their surgical options for cardiac patients.

“Innovative repair techniques are used sparingly by surgeons as the nuances of the techniques can be difficult to learn,” he explains. “This year, however, we will bring the operations right to the audience through live demonstrations.”

Dr. Thierry Mesana, UOHI President and CEO, says the institute is “extremely proud and honoured” to be hosting the first AVRS outside of Brussels.

“This highly regarded international summit brings together the best and brightest cardiac surgeons dedicated to valve repair,” says Dr. Mesana. “Great innovations in cardiac surgery have come out of this annual landmark event, and we are very pleased to be in a position to enable and facilitate these outstanding outcomes.”

The event’s extensive global reach will see experts from 19 countries coming together to share their experiences, including:

  • Dr. Gébrine El Khoury, cardiac surgeon with Cliniques universitaires Saint-Luc in Belgium and a pioneer in aortic valve repair;
  • Dr. Hans Joachim-Schäfers, Director of the Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery at Saarland University Medical Center, Germany, said to be the most experienced surgeon in aortic valve reconstruction having performed 1500-plus procedures;
  • Dr. Tirone David, cardiac surgeon at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre and professor at the University of Toronto, credited with developing a surgical procedure to save the valve without replacing it.

Three experts from the uOttawa Faculty of Medicine will also share their skills: Dr. Benjamin Sohmer, associate professor and anesthesiologist in the UOHI Division of Cardiac Anesthesiology; Dr. Marc Ruel, professor and Division Head of Cardiac Surgery at UOHI; and Dr. Boodhwani himself.

“Hosting this prestigious event puts the UOHI on the map for AV repair,” Dr. Boodhwani says. “It really reinforces our position on the international stage as leaders in cardiac care and research.”

Main photo credit: Jaimin Patel

Model of the human heart

Experts will share new methods of life-saving heart repair at this year’s Aortic Valve Repair Summit. Photo: Jesse Orrico


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