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Making History

The Mazankowski may be Canada’s newest, most green heart institute, but Alberta has been at the forefront of heart care for more than 50 years. Building on the University of Alberta Hospital’s (and regional health authority’s) achievements in cardiac care, the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute was built on a proud history of leadership and innovation.

Fifty Years of Firsts

  • University of Alberta Hospital opens with a staff of 5 and budget of $4,000 (1906) 
  • First recorded cardiac surgery in Edmonton (1948) 
  • First open heart surgery in Canada (1956)
  • First surgery involving a heart-lung machine (1956)
  • First heart valve replacement in Canada (1962) 
  • First coronary bypass operation in Edmonton (1967) 
  • First catheter biopsy of the heart in Canada (1976) 
  • First balloon angioplasty in Western Canada using a catheter to open blocked blood vessels around the heart (1981) 
  • First heart transplant in Western Canada (1985) 
  • First heart/lung combined transplant in Western Canada (1986) 
  • First radio frequency catheter in Canada to open a blocked value in an infant’s heart (2000) 
  • First living-related donor lung transplant in Alberta, the third in Canada (2001) 
  • First infant heart transplant right after birth (2004) 
  • First education and support centre for the Berlin Heart in North, Central and South America (2005) 
  • World’s first mechanical heart (Berlin Heart) designed for children given to youngest patient in Western Canada (2005) 
  • First research centre within an acute care hospital in Canada opens with Alberta Cardiovascular and Stoke Research Centre (ABACUS) (2006) 
  • First baby in Canada born during emergency open heart surgery (2008) 
  • First LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) silver certified heart institute to open in Canada (2009) 
  • First transcatheter aortic value implantation (TAVI) in Alberta (2010) 

Edmonton’s international reputation in cardiac surgery and cardiology care reflects the outstanding work of its cardiac specialists in pediatrics and heart transplants.

The University of Alberta Hospital has performed the most heart, lung and heart/lung combined transplants in Canada, and was the first to offer mechanical hearts to both adults and children.

In 2006, Edmonton becomes the heart transplant capital of Canada with 38 adult heart transplants and 16 pediatric heart transplants at the University of Alberta Hospital and Stollery Children’s Hospital. It is the only facility in Canada to treat adult and pediatric cardiology in one building with the children’s hospital located on the site of the tertiary acute care hospital.

Now with patient care, research and education all under one roof at the University of Alberta campus, the Mazankowski will remain at the forefront of cardiac care, pioneering the way in preventing, treating and, one day, eliminating Canada’s number one cause of death - heart disease.

Research/Teaching Recognition

  • 2003 Dr. Dylan Taylor, cardiologist and clinical professor in the University of Alberta’s Division of Cardiology, receives top teaching award from Canadian Cardiovascular Society 
  • 2005 Canada-wide clinical trial led from Edmonton tested best emergency treatment for heart attack patients, comparing clotbusters and angioplasty. Called Which Early ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction Therapy (WEST) lead by senior cardiologist and Study Chair Dr. Paul Armstrong at the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton. The Vital Heart Response is standard protocol throughout Alberta/ Canada. 
  • 2006 Pediatric interventional cardiologist Dr. Yashu Coe, at Stollery Children’s Hospital, develops a catheter for angioplasty operations on babies called the COEefficient, now marketed around the world.