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Cardiovascular Network of Canada - CANet

$42 million for 2014-24
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Cardiovascular Network of Canada

Western University, London, Ontario

Scientific Director and CEO
Anthony Tang Anthony Tang

Managing Director
Kevin O’Neil Kevin O’Neil

Board chair
François Labonté François Labonté

Patients play central role in arrhythmia research network

The opportunity

Canadian heart rhythm research has led to innovations that include the external cardiac pacemaker and the implantable heart record. It has also helped identify appropriate treatment for patients with atrial fibrillation, reduce heart failure and death with cardiac resynchronization therapy, and reduce the risk of stroke from atrial fibrillation. However, a growing number of patients are being diagnosed with major arrhythmia problems, notably sudden cardiac death, atrial fibrillation and syncope. Early detection, prevention and treatment often require expensive medications, medical procedures and highly sophisticated technology.

How CANet is seizing the opportunity

The Cardiovascular Network of Canada (CANet) is a multidisciplinary, multi-sector network of clinicians, researchers, industry and government partners, health care providers and patients that are identifying research priorities and working collaboratively to put the right solutions into practice.

Driven by the Network vision of a transformed, patient-driven arrhythmia care, CANet embraces patients as partners. Patients are engaged across all network activities from governance to research to disease management. Combining the expertise of both healthcare professionals and patients, CANet continues to utilize and enhance VIRTUES (Virtual Integrated Reliable Transformative User-Driven E-Health System), a CANet-developed, cloud-based, secured, virtual care platform. VIRTUES, envisioned and designed by patients and physicians, is already being used in studies across Canada.

Among the results

  • CANet utilized its expertise to adapt its VIRTUES platform for COVID-19 remote monitoring. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed significant gaps in the Canadian healthcare system, particularly when COVID-19 positive individuals with less severe symptoms were asked to self-isolate at home but are not provided with a care plan. To date, over 800 patients have used VIRTUES-COVID across 5 major regions in Ontario.
  • VIRTUES-CIED (Cardiac Implantable Electronic Devices) is being utilized in 8 provinces across Canada allowing patients to receive specialized CIED care at home in their own community. VIRTUES-CIED enables the application of virtual CIED patient management and aims to significantly reduce the need for in-person routine visits to specialized clinics, especially in rural and remote regions of Canada.
  • One of the first programs funded by CANet and the largest clinical trial of its kind, EARLY-AF, found that there was a significantly lower rate of atrial fibrillation recurrence with catheter cryoballoon ablation than with antiarrhythmic drug therapy. The results of this study have recently been published in the New England Journal of Medicine with numerous invited presentations at national/international conferences.
  • CANet reported the first ever reported test flights of drone delivered AEDs in Canada in simulated mock 9-1-1 responses. The chances of surviving a cardiac arrest decrease by 7 to 10 % for every minute over 10 minutes. This novel, innovative delivery system is projected to significantly reduce the time to AED arrival at the scene of a cardiac arrest from 20 minutes to 10.6 minutes in rural regions.
  • The CANet Acute Atrial Fibrillation (AAF) project successfully implemented its AAF Best Practices Guidelines into 11 large Canadian Emergency Departments (ED) in 5 Provinces reducing the ED length of stay by 20.9% for patients.
  • CANet funded C-SCAN project successfully advocated for a mandatory AED registry in Ontario and helped draft legislation to create a mandatory Provincial AED registry, Bill 141 Defibrillator Registration and Public Access Act, 2020. This legislation received royal assent in June 2020.

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