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Heart health and innovation with Dr. Shubhayan Sanatani

As a leader in pediatric services in British Columbia, and a teaching and research facility for child health, health care innovation is important at BC Children's Hospital.
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​"It's fun to think about some of the new and innovative ways we've been helping patients in the last few years," said Dr. Shubhayan Sanatani, division head of cardiology at BC Children's Hospital. 

The Children's Heart Centre cardiology clinic at our hospital provides complete care for children and adolescents living with all kinds of congenital and acquired heart disease. The Children's Heart Centre is also a training hub for physicians affiliated with UBC and a place for research where health professionals build expertise in cardiac care and help improve patient health outcomes. 

Dr. Shubhayan Sanatani, known at BC Children's Hospital as Dr. Shu, is a pediatric electrophysiologist, whose research focuses on the rhythm of the heart and aims to improve the outcome of children who have arrhythmias. We asked Dr. Shu about the future of pediatric heart health and patient care.

Genetic innovation is changing health care

"The explosion of genetic testing has been an incredible change in health care and it has required all of us to go back and learn more about genetics," says Dr. Shu. "A lot of the heart conditions we deal with are inherited. So with genetic testing, we are getting results on patients who are affected by a genetic condition or genetic risk for developing a condition that we didn't know existed before. 

We've known about this in some fields for a longer time, but in the pediatric setting this is relatively new. We're really excited about the ability to discover new conditions based on our genetic learning."  

We're learning new things about pediatric genetic heart conditions

Dr. Sanatani further explains: "Some of the work we're doing in genetic heart conditions is allowing us to identify patients' conditions before a tragic event happens. So we are able to treat patients earlier with more specific treatments.

What if we could understand our bodies even better

"As a heart specialist, I often wonder: 'What if I could understand how the heart and the brain work together better?' For example, sometimes a child might experience pain or the feeling that their heart isn't right, but I don't have the understanding to put it all together because the body is so complicated.   I think it would be amazing if we could understand the body even better than we think we do." 

To learn more about heart health at BC Children's Hospital, visit the Children's Heart Centre web page.

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