Kingston hospitals get big boost from local foundation for heart health

The W. J. Henderson Foundation donated more than $670,000 to Kingston hospitals on Thursday. The majority of the funds will be used for new atrial fibrillation research. CKWS TV

Kingston hospitals were on the receiving end of a big donation on Thursday when the W. J. Henderson Foundation donated $673,000 for heart health research.

A large portion, $500,000 of it, will go towards new research for atrial fibrillation.

Atrial fibrillation is the most common form of an irregular heartbeat, and the condition can lead to heart failure, blood clots, as well as other heart-related complications. 

“Atrial fibrillation is one of the leading causes of stroke, so it’s a very important illness, especially in the aging demographic and our group here are leaders in research and treatment of atrial fibrillation,” said Dr. David Pichora, the president and CEO of Kingston Health Sciences Centre.

According to Dr. Pichora, atrial fibrillation affects up to 400,000 Canadians. Past research has focused on the technology side of the condition.

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The new funding will look more closely at a patient’s lifestyle to treat things like sleep apnea, diabetes or high blood pressure, which in turn could have a positive impact on their heart condition.

“We’re actually taking a slightly different angle at the condition and going, ‘Hang on a second, let’s get patients to exercise, let’s get them to change their diet, let’s get them to reduce their stress and see what happens,'” said Dr. Benedict Glover, the head of electrophysiology.

“No one has ever done this before, the way that we’re going to do it. We’re going to have very sophisticated monitors so we can see exactly what happens with the patient’s condition.”

“The fact that we fund research here, doesn’t mean its effect is limited to here — it spreads,” said David Pattenden, board member with the W. J. Henderson Foundation. “Dr. Glover and others are all talking with their colleagues around the world, so it has an international impact but it’s being done here in Kingston.”

Since 1992, the W. J. Henderson Foundation has donated more than $2.5 million to Kingston Hospitals to help fund various programs including cardiology, urology research, diagnostic imaging and orthopedics research.

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