On Jan. 4 of last year, 21-year-old Megan McLean started to feel cramps and sharp pains in her chest. Her heart rate would speed up and she would have no control over it. It would race until she started to feel dizzy, sick to her stomach and, at times, even pass out.
She was admitted to Rouge Valley Health System. Initially doctors thought she had extra tissue on her heart, which needed to be removed. However in April, after months of testing, they came to realize that she had an extra valve inside the left side of her heart. The procedure that was needed to cure this heart problem was not offered at Rouge Valley. She was told she might have to go to London, Ont. to have the treatment.
McLean was concerned when she heard she had to travel that far.
“I was upset because it would have meant that I had to start all over again. We had gotten so far through everything that I didn’t want to have to start over,” she said.
Fortunately, she soon was spared from having to travel to London because Rouge Valley was finally getting the right equipment she needed for her surgery.
Patients don’t need to go out of the region, they can get local care here.
— Bhavanesh Makanjee
Almost a year after McLean’s symptoms started, the hospital was informed that they were going to get the special machine that was needed to conduct the transseptal cardiac procedure to cure the heart problem that McLean was suffering from.
Dr. Bhavanesh Makanjee, an electrophysiologist at Rouge Valley, expresses great content now that patients can get local care for their heart problems.
“[The procedure] offers a full array of treatments for patients with heart problems. Patients don’t need to go out of the region, they can get local care here,” he said. “It’s a one-stop shop. It’s providing good care for patients closer to home. And doing it in a very timely and efficient manner.”
On Feb. 8, McLean was the first patient to go through this new kind of heart procedure at Rouge Valley.
“The actual procedure was kind of scary because you’re awake during the entire thing, but the team that I had was absolutely phenomenal,” she said. “They didn’t doubt themselves one bit. They made it sound like it was an easy procedure. They were very confident.”
Rouge Valley is the only hospital to offer this heart procedure in the Central East of Toronto health centres.
“It’s great for our patient population. It offers a cure for symptoms that can be quite debilitating, in certainly a minority of patients. We are hoping to further expand the program and this is one important first step,” said Makanjee.