A well-functioning heart beats about 60-100 times per minute. Electrical impulses in your heart trigger those beats, keeping blood and oxygen flowing through your body. But millions of Canadians experience heart rhythm abnormalities or arrhythmias, which disrupt blood flow.
There are many types of heart rhythm abnormalities. Some have no symptoms or warning signs; some can be sudden and fatal — that’s called sudden cardiac death.
Sudden cardiac death is the most devastating outcome of heart rhythm abnormality.
Heart & Stroke has identified heart rhythm as one of six disease areas where we see the greatest potential for impact (scroll down to learn more). From the development of new solutions to detect, prevent and treat heart rhythm abnormalities, to preventing sudden cardiac death and saving more lives through CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), we will give more precious moments back to Canadians.
Council will guide action
We have established the Heart & Stroke heart rhythm council, a team of 10-12 members — half researchers and half community members. The community members bring a range of backgrounds including lived experience of heart rhythm disorders (either themselves or in a loved one), policy, technology, philanthropy, health care and more.
Starting in late 2017, they will spend the next two years considering priorities and opportunities in the detection, treatment and management of heart rhythm disorders.
Their knowledge and input will guide Heart & Stroke in determining how we can deliver the greatest impact for Canadians living with heart rhythm disorders, and their families.
Meet our council co-chairs
Andrew Krahn, research co-chair: Dr. Andrew Krahn is an internationally recognized expert in cardiac arrhythmias and head of cardiology at the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Medicine. He holds the Sauder Family/Heart and Stroke Foundation Chair in Cardiology and the Paul Brunes Chair in Heart Rhythm Disorders, and he serves on the board of trustees of the Heart Rhythm Society.
Andrew’s research interests are focused on the genetic causes of arrhythmias, causes of loss of consciousness, and implantable arrhythmia devices. He is passionate about improving diagnosis and treatment of arrhythmias, and early detection of genetic conditions. Andrew is an exceptional leader, we are so fortunate to have him as a co-chair of the heart rhythm council.
William Jones, community co-chair: William Jones is global product manager, intracardiac imaging at Conavi Medical Inc. He provides leadership in product introduction and marketing strategy for the company’s first product, an intracardiac echocardiography (ICE) catheter used by physicians for minimally invasive heart disease procedures.
When William was 17, he survived — with the help of CPR and an AED — an unexplained cardiac arrest. He has since co-founded the Heart & Stroke Young Leaders Committee in Ontario. He serves as the committee’s chair, leading a team of young people working to engage other young professionals in the cause. The heart rhythm council will be enriched with his passion, leadership qualities, his expertise in technology commercialization, and his lived experience perspective.
About Heart & Stroke mission critical areas
Heart & Stroke has adopted a new framework that will drive progress in what we are calling mission critical areas or MCAs. These are the six heart and stroke disease states that together represent the biggest burden — on Canadians’ health, on the economy and on society.
The MCAs are not the only areas where Heart & Stroke works, but they reflect where we believe we can have the greatest impact. The six MCAs are:
- heart failure
- vascular cognitive impairment
- heart rhythm
- coronary artery and vascular disease
- structural heart disease.
The work of our six MCA councils will also feed into a strategic planning process underway at Heart & Stroke, to determine our direction as an organization.