Networks of Centres of Excellence of Canada
Government of Canada

Common menu bar links

Cardiovascular Network of Canada - CANet

$42 million for 2014-24
About   |   News   |   Videos
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-funded research, training, and knowledge translation initiatives have resulted in:

Key impacts on the Canadian healthcare ecosystem

  • CANet received over $56 million in matched funds from its industry and institutional partners.
  • Through CANet’s HQP Association for Trainees (CHAT) program, 147 new careers were launched in public and private sectors.
  • Over 200 new jobs were created at the Medtronic CryoCath facility (Pointe-Claire, Quebec), and over 180 at Baylis Medical as a result of CANet-funded initiatives.
  • CANet has commercialized 7 clinical technologies, was issued 10 patents, and filed 5.

Key impacts on patient care

  • The VANISH study led to the incorporation of ventricular tachycardia ablation into practice guidelines for the management of patients with ventricular arrhythmias and the prevention of sudden cardiac death, which were adopted by the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology and the Heart Rhythm Society.
  • The acute atrial fibrillation-emergency department (AAF-ED) study led to early cardioversion in the emergency department (ED) being adopted into the Canadian ED Best Practice Guidelines.
  • The Early Aggressive Intervention for Atrial Fibrillation (EARLY-AF) study shows that early intervention with cryoballoon catheter ablation is more effective at reducing the risk of serious long-term health impacts when compared to antiarrhythmic drugs. These results have led to two New England Journal of Medicine publications and global guidelines changes for AF treatment.
  • Bill 141, the “Defibrillator Registration and Public Access Act”, passed in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, which will increase Automated External Defibrillators (AED) use and the instruction of performing CPR in public schools.
  • Accurate blood testing for the early diagnosis of arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC), an inherited heart rhythm disorder.

Key impacts on the Canadian health system

  • The Canadian Syncope Risk Score (CSRS) tool resulted in 71% of syncope patients being discharged quickly from the ED avoiding unnecessary hospitalizations.
  • New AAF guidelines which have reduced the patient length of stay in the ED by 21% and have shown a reduction in hospitalizations from 40% to 3.5%.
  • First ever test flights of drone delivered AED in Canada, reducing the time of AED arrival at the scene of a cardiac arrest from 20 minutes to 10.6 minutes in rural regions.
  • 815 patients have used CANet’s digital health platform VIRTUES to resolve an urgent healthcare problem resulting from their COVID-19 infection.
  • Over 1000 patients are using VIRTUES for implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) and pacemaker monitoring across 8 provinces in urban, rural, and remote populations.

Connect with CANet


May 2, 2023
March 9, 2023
February 7, 2023
October 3, 2022
May 19, 2022
March 16, 2022
January 18, 2022