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HHS experts tackling global issue of complications after heart surgery

A ground-breaking project is underway at Hamilton Health Sciences’ Population Health Research Institute (PHRI) to address a major medical shortcoming in Canada and around the world: too many patients develop complications after having cardiac and vascular surgery, and many are re-admitted to hospital after they’re discharged home.

The SMarTVIEW project uses specially-designed software for patients who have had serious cardiac and vascular surgery to receive continuous vital sign monitoring in the hospital and at home. The technology aims to prevent serious complications post-surgery, including infections and blood clots, and to reduce post-surgical emergency room visits and readmissions to hospital.

“As many as eight per cent of patients will have complications after cardiac or vascular surgery,” says Dr. PJ Devereaux, cardiologist at Hamilton Health Sciences, perioperative research lead at PHRI, and scientific lead for SMarTVIEW. “The rate of complications post-op far exceed those in the OR, where patients are being closely monitored and the surgical team can act quickly if problems arise.”

SMarTVIEW extends this monitoring beyond the OR to the hospital ward and then to the patient’s home for about one week after they’ve been discharged. The remote monitoring software is designed to detect subtle declines in a patient’s condition and alert the healthcare team to intervene. At home, monitoring is further enhanced by virtual visits with a nurse, who patients can see on a tablet computer they receive when they leave the hospital.

The project will launch in Fall 2017 with the first patient cohort, including about 600 patients from HHS as well as the Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital in the UK. Hamilton Health Sciences has also partnered with Coventry University, where researchers have devised tools for support patient self-management during recovery, which will be incorporated in to the SMarTVIEW software.