Nearly 30 years after the first heart transplant took place in BC, the 500th such operation was performed this past June at St. Paul’s. Marc Bains, 33, of Vancouver received the transplant after suffering heart failure and waiting 10 months for a suitable match. “I’m excited about the freedom a new heart gives me to live my life. I will be able to play sports again, travel with my wife, attend events, all without struggling from heart failure,” says Bains, who co-founded a heart-failure patient advocacy group.
The procedure was performed by Dr. Anson Cheung, surgical director of the Cardiac Transplant Program of BC. “I feel grateful to be part of this milestone,” says Cheung. “That moment when the newly transplanted heart begins to beat is something I never get tired of.”
Of the 500 operations so far in BC, 378 were performed at St. Paul’s, the site of all adult heart transplants in the province since 1996. More than 1.2 million British Columbians have registered with the Organ Donor Registry, but the need for organs still outstrips the supply. As of August 2018, the waitlist for organs in the province currently exceeds 600 patients, including 10 awaiting heart transplants.