Calgary Health Trust’s $5.1 million Heart Project campaign to fund Cardiac Hybrid OR

Margot Kitchen was the picture of health at age 70. As a yogi, she ate the right things, stayed active through her yoga practice and even took the time to extend her teaching to training others. She and her husband David celebrated life to the fullest, travelling to India, Mexico and Europe and spending time with their family.

Like every proud grandparent, she looked for ways to connect with her grandchildren through dance recitals and hockey tournaments, but found a special bond with them through yoga. But while preparing to host a yoga seminar in February 2012, Margot’s entire life was put on hold.

“I had this unbelievable pain that went straight through from the front of my chest to the back and I knew something awful was happening. I said, somebody call an ambulance, I’m having a heart attack.”

CHT Cardiac image 8x10But it was actually worse than a heart attack—Margot had a dissected aorta. She was rushed to the cardiac unit under the care of Dr. Jehangir Appoo. With multiple tears in the inner wall of the aorta, her blood was flowing between the layers causing blood loss. Needing to work quickly, Dr. Appoo used a hybrid surgery technique, allowing him to repair the arch of the aorta in one surgery instead of two. It’s a type of surgery that required pin-point precision and Dr. Appoo had approximately one millimetre before he would reach a major part of the aorta that pushes blood to the brain.

Even with an amazing surgeon caring for her, the road to recovery has been long. Margot has undergone two extensive surgeries and spent a month in the hospital, all of which had taken a toll on her body. Now recovering at home, Margot refuses to let this set her back from living her life how she wants.

“My friends all say to me that I am the last person they thought would have cardiac problems because
I am the healthiest person they know. But you can’t prepare for everything—especially where genetics
are concerned.”

Individuals like Margot Kitchen are the reason why Calgary Health Trust is heading a $5.1 million campaign to fund
a Cardiac Hybrid OR as part of The Heart Project. Money raised will go towards the purchase of equipment
needed to bring this leading-edge cardiac operating room to Calgary. The new OR will enable clinicians to work together in treating complex heart conditions, lessening the number of procedures each patient requires. The availability of state-of-theart technology allows for less invasive procedures and shortens recovery time, returning patients to their lives and families as quickly as possible.

Learn more about The Heart Project at

Why a Cardiac Hybrid OR?

  • With the new hybrid OR, clinicians can work together in the same space to treat certain conditions quicker and safer, lessening the number of procedures each patient goes through.
  • Incorporating new diagnostic imaging equipment such as x-rays, CT scans, ultrasound machines and MRIs in one room, doctors have the advantage of real-time imaging to aid in performing less invasive procedures.
  • A cardiac hybrid OR can help to free up operating rooms and shorten the wait time for surgeries.
  • Leading-edge technology, such as the Cardiac Hybrid OR, assists in attracting and retaining specialists from around the world.

If you’re running the 2013 Calgary Marathon, you can fundraise directly for the Libin Cardiac Hybrid OR. Find out more here.

Story by Valerie Ball, Photos courtesy of the Calgary Health Trust


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