Donors help Royal Columbian purchase world’s smallest heart-lung machine

New Westminster, B.C. – {April 3, 2017} – A medical team from Royal Columbian Hospital that is called upon by the region’s other hospitals to take over the care of critically ill patients is now travelling much lighter thanks to donors to Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation.

Generous support has allowed the hospital’s Extracorporeal Life Support (ECLS) team – the only mobile retrieval team of its kind in the province – to become the first in British Columbia to acquire the CARDIOHELP system, a portable machine that takes over the function of the heart and lungs when a patient’s health is rapidly deteriorating.

“This system is almost half the weight of our previous equipment,” notes Royal Columbian Chief of Perfusion Robert Leslie. “Because it’s lightweight, compact and sturdy, this heart and lung machine will make it even safer and quicker for our ECLS team to deploy and transport patients back to Royal Columbian by ground or air.”

CARDIOHELP system, which is the world’s smallest portable heart-lung support system, was purchased because of a generous donation to the Foundation from Jeannette and Stan Hrescak. Maquet-Getinge Group, the company behind the CARDIOHELP system, also made their own gift, which allowed the hospital to obtain two of these machines.

“These donors are supporting critical care in the truest sense of the word,” says Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation President and CEO Jeff Norris. “The ECLS team is called in when a patient’s heart or lungs are failing and all other options to avoid death have been exhausted. Their work is very much lifesaving.”

Royal Columbian Hospital’s ECLS team is asked by other hospitals in the Fraser Health region to retrieve critically ill patients about a dozen times each year. The equipment provides the patient with enough oxygen and allows time to recover in cases where cardiac or pulmonary failure might be reversible.

Your care is critical

At Royal Columbian, the most seriously ill and injured get their greatest chance at life. We are the only hospital in BC with trauma, cardiac, neurosciences, high-risk maternity and neonatal intensive care on one site. We look after some of the most seriously ill and injured patients, and we do it with the support of donors like you.

Since 1978, donors to Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation have helped fund priority equipment needs, facility enhancements, research, education and innovation at Royal Columbian Hospital.