MEET THE PEDIATRIC HEART TRANSPLANT TEAM AT THE STOLLERY
Dr Simon Urschel
Dr Jennifer Conway
Dr Michael Khoury
Dr Lori West
The University of Alberta/Stollery Children’s Hospital has evolved into a lead center within Canada and the world in the field of pediatric heart transplantation research for many years. Newborns from Alberta were amongst the first successful infant heart transplants performed in Loma Linda, California starting 1986, and the majority of these patients are now still living as young adults in Alberta.
With the appointment of Dr. Ivan Rebeyka as Pediatric Cardiac Surgeon the program started performing all heart transplants in children for western Canada in the mid-90s. Pediatric transplant research became a signature field at the University of Alberta with the recruitment of Dr. Lori West in 2005, holding a Canada Research Chair and having co-founded and spearheaded several provincial and national research initiatives such as the Alberta Transplant Institute and the Canadian National Transplant Research Program that have persistently transformed the face of transplantation and organ donation in Canada and Alberta.
In 2008 Dr. Simon Urschel joined her research group for a fellowship, then accepted an academic and clinical appointment in 2010 and became Director of the pediatric cardiac transplant program for the Western Canadian Children’s Heart Network in 2011. Dr. Paul Kantor was part of the team from 2012 to 2018 and Dr. Jennifer Conway joint in 2013 bringing additional expertise in heart failure management and Ventricular Assist Device therapy. Our latest team addition is Dr. Michael Khoury who joint following fellowships in Cincinnati and our center and comes with an additional focus on preventive cardiology and exercise physiology.
At present approximately half of the pediatric heart transplantations in Canada are performed at our center, placing us amongst the 10% largest centers in North America, patient outcomes are significantly better than the North American average as documented in reports from the Pediatric Heart Transplant Society. Our pioneer protocols for ABO incompatible transplantation and highly HLA-sensitized patients have been implemented in leading transplant centers around the world.
The research performed at our institution ranges from basic science with an emphasize on immunology to clinical studies on optimized therapies and management before and after transplantation, outcomes beyond primary medical aspects including psychosocial and school challenges and quality of life and patient integration into medical management. These projects happen at the local, provincial, national and international level, often as part of collaborative initiatives or evolving from local pilot studies into international multi center projects. Our team serves in many leadership roles and committees on research, quality assurance and clinical and administrative management of transplantation on local, provincial, regional, national and international level.