Providing World Leading Cardiac Care

Providing World Leading Cardiac Care


Since opening in 2009, the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute has become one of the leading heart institutes in North America and has changed or saved the lives of more than 100,000 patients!

Unless you’ve actually been to the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute, either as a patient, visitor, or because you work there, you may not know what a tremendous asset we have right here in Edmonton.


Here’s a quick primer:

  • Named to honour the Right Honorable Don Mazankowski, former Deputy Prime Minister and long-time Conservative MP for Vegreville, Alberta, “the Maz,”as it’s fondly known, is the referral centre for the most complex cardiac patients from across the prairies, northern Canada and north eastern British Columbia.
  • Since opening in July, 2009, doctors and cardiac care professionals at the Maz have changed and saved the lives of over 100,000 patients; performed more than 6,000 open heart surgeries; and completed 284 heart, heart/lung and lung transplants.
  • The Maz is home to the largest heart transplant program in Canada and the largest lung transplant program in western Canada.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Edmonton’s history of setting a new standard in cardiac care actually goes back to 1948 when the first recorded cardiac surgery in Edmonton took place. This marked the beginning of an incredibly long list of “firsts” in the city’s history of excellence in cardiac surgery and cardiac patient care.

Case in point:

Did you know that the first open heart surgery in Canada was performed at the University of Alberta Hospital in 1956? That the first heart transplant in western Canada took place here in 1985? Or that the first baby born during emergency open heart surgery occurred here in 2008?

The Critical Role of Community Support

Donors to the University Hospital Foundation continue to support building and equipping the Maz with some of the most advanced medical and imaging technology in the world. To date, donors have contributed an incredible $65 million towards:

  1. Providing over one in four dollars to help build Western Canada’s leading heart institute;
  2. Fully funding the $6.6 million Cardiac Hybrid operating room, thereby providing a life-saving alternative for patients with health conditions so complex that traditional surgery is not a viable option;
  3. Donating $3 million towards the Jim Pattison Centre for Heart Health, a comprehensive cardiac rehabilitation centre designed to complete the continuum of cardiac care provided at the Maz;
  4. Contributing $1.4 million – including $1.1 million from the 2013 Festival of Trees, Edmonton’s signature kick-off to Christmas event – towards the expansion of the cardiovascular intensive care unit (CVICU) at the Maz, increasing capacity to allow 200 more surgeries to be performed every year, and providing more patients than ever before access to specialized care.

To read more about the University Hospital Foundation, visit their website at


Teamwork a Vital Ingredient

Advances in cardiac care have saved and changed the lives of thousands of grateful patients. Today, teams at the Maz face a new reality: aging patients who present a diverse range of serious health conditions. Often this means more complicated surgeries and prolonged, intense recoveries.

The Maz is the only heart institute in western Canada that offers the complete package of cardiac care, from advanced diagnostic imaging right through to surgery and rehabilitation.

Daily meetings are held in which doctors share the stage with social workers, dieticians, nurses, physiotherapists, rehabilitation specialists, pharmacists and other experts in related fields. This way, patients’ entire well-being and health is addressed by a multidisciplinary team.

Pushing the Frontiers of Translational Research

Imagine this: a world without waiting lists for patients in need of heart and/or lung transplants. Unfortunately it’s going to be awhile before that happens, but the dream is alive thanks to extraordinary research being conducted by cardiac surgeons and researchers at the Maz.

Other research projects are looking into the causes of heart failure, coronary artery disease and pulmonary hypertension, a rare but lethal disease, and many other research projects that will change the way hearts are mended around the world.

“The vision was to create a world class cardiac centre to serve the needs of people across western and northern Canada. The reality has exceeded the dream.” 

— Dr. David Ross, Head, Cardiac Surgery, Edmonton Zone, Alberta Health Services

Healthy Tips for Healthy Heart Living

by Kara Penney

Program Manager, NACRP, Jim Pattison Center for Heart Health and the Glenrose Hospital

  1. Eat a Heart Healthy Diet as outlined in Canada’s Food Guide. Look for the Health Check™ symbol when purchasing groceries.
  2. Modify your diet to reduce fat consumption; this can help lower your cholesterol.
  3. Participate in a variety of endurance, flexibility and strength activities.
  4. Practice good sleep habits.
  5. Accumulate 60 minutes of activity everyday. Add up your activities in periods of at least 10 minutes each. Start slowly and build up.
  6. Become a “self manager.” Take the attitude that “I am responsible for my health.”
  7. Plan using S.M.A.R.T. goals: S – Specific, M – Measurable, A –Achievable, R – Realistic, T – Timely
  8. Have an annual checkup with your family physician.
  9. Quit smoking. Seek appropriate medical help to ensure you are successful.


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