Each year in Canada, 1 out of every 100 babies born has a heart defect and more than half need surgery to survive. Over the last decade, improved pediatric care has created a growing population of patients born with heart disease.
Currently most children born with structural heart disease survive into adulthood, and it is estimated that around 91 000 children and 170 000 adults with congenital heart disease (CHD) live in Canada.
Apart from congenital defects, there is also a growing population of Canadian children with acquired disorders affecting the heart and blood vessels.
All these children are at risk for developing significant long-term health problems because of the early development of co-morbidities such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol.
Most children with heart disease, despite the excellent surgical outcome, are not “cured” but must live with their conditions and should be followed by a specialized cardiac care team.
Our mission is to change the life expectancy and the quality of life of children with heart disease through research, innovation and education.
Children with heart disease deserve a better life, and by investing in programs that focus on improving the accuracy of diagnosis and promoting a healthy life-style, we directly impact outcomes and thus touch the lives of children and families.
At Hope for Hearts we are proud to support the Exercise Medicine Program and the Echocardiography Laboratory at the Hospital for Sick Children.
ABOUT THE EXERCISE MEDICINE PROGRAM
The Exercise Medicine Program represents the first pediatric program in Canada that focuses on physical activity and sport recommendations for children with heart disease.
Modern medicine has made it possible to save many children born with congenital heart disease, and it is our ongoing responsibility to make sure they have a good quality of life and that they live up to their maximum capability.
Being able to safely be active (by taking part sports and/or playing with siblings and peers) will positively improve the way these kids look at their life; it will help to increase their self-esteem as well as their physical and mental well-being.
The Exercise Medicine Program focuses on providing physical activity recommendations and encouraging healthy lifestyle behaviours with the goal of reducing the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle and therefore improving children’s exercise function, neurodevelopment and wellbeing.
ABOUT THE ECHOCARDIOGRAPHY LAB
The Echocardiography Laboratory at SickKids is part of the Labatt Family Heart Centre, one of the world’s leading centres dedicated to the study and treatment of congenital and acquired heart disease, and the Laboratory constitutes the core of the Non Invasive Cardiac Imaging Section of the Labatt Family Heart Centre.
Everything starts with an ultrasound. The images provided by our Lab are the base of any cardiac intervention.
Ultrasound images are used to:
- Detect the presence of a cardiac defect and make the right diagnosis
- Provide anatomical information to surgeons and help them in planning the surgery
- Support surgeons with additional images during surgery
- Follow-up with patients after surgery and during their long-term clinical assessment