Cardiovascular Diseases and Critical Care

The Cardiovascular Disease and Critical Care Axis is dedicated to the understanding and treatment of cardiovascular diseases, which represent the major cause of death and disability in both Canada and around the world. The major research foci of the axis involve lipoprotein metabolism and cardiovascular genetics, vascular biology and response to inflammatory stress, cellular and mathematical models for the study of cardiac electrophysiology, and assessment of technologies in cardiovascular health.

Methodologies used by our researchers range from molecular cellular biology, integrative physiology, and clinical and epidemiological studies. Research in this axis continues to benefit from the large annual patient volume and medical procedures conducted in the Division of Cardiology and Critical care at the MUHC, which include 40,000 out-patients, over 3,600 cardiac catheterization procedures and 1,200 open heart surgeries, providing a wealth of clinical material vital to the success of these studies.

The Clinical Unit, which already includes cardiac catheterization laboratories and a Coronary Care Unit, now has a new Non-Invasive Laboratory with two state-of-the-art echo cardiology machines dedicated to the study of vascular function. This cutting-edge technology will allow the study of large populations of specific metabolic or genetic disorders in a non-invasive fashion.

The Critical Care division remains an active participant in the highly successful Canadian Critical Care Trials Group (CCCTG), a collegiate group dedicated to the advancement of critical care research in Canada. The axis is currently a partner in an International trial on the addition of nutritional supplements and antioxidants to the regular feeds of critically ill patients, and will be establishing a scientific component to investigate the regulation of apoptosis in the tracheal aspirates of these patients. This study is one of several CCCTG partnerships, and remains an important part of the group’s activity.