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Pioneering heart surgeon to head new research chair at McMaster University


Pioneering heart surgeon to head new research chair at McMaster University

Shamir Mehta, McMaster professor of medicine, is the inaugural Douglas Holder/PHRI Chair in Interventional Cardiology and he will use the position to continue his ground-breaking research into new coronary disease treatments The chair has been created honouring Douglas Holder, Hamilton’s pioneer in interventional cardiology, and the first chair holder is one of his protégés.

The $2 million position has been endowed with $1 million from the Population Health Research Institute (PHRI) of McMaster and Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS), with a match from the university’s Department of Medicine.

Mehta, a senior scientist for PHRI and director of interventional cardiology at HHS, honed his trade under Douglas Holder, for whom the new position is named. Interventional cardiologists are trained to perform specific catheter-based treatments for heart disease.

Douglas Holder, a cardiologist, joined McMaster faculty in 1976, and held both university and leadership roles at Hamilton General Hospital through to his retirement in 2012. He initiated the percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty, or PTCA, program in Hamilton in 1982.

Mehta joined McMaster faculty in 2000, after receiving his medical training as an interventional cardiologist at the University of Toronto. Mehta’s partnership with Holder began in the 1990s, and they worked closely together in developing angioplasty as a safe alternative to surgically removing coronary artery blockages.

Dr. Shamir Mehta

More recently, Mehta has proven the concept of ‘complete revascularization’, a safe alternative to surgically bypassing a blocked coronary artery in patients who suffer heart attacks rather than only opening the blocked artery that caused the heart attack, reduces the risk of patients dying or having a repeat heart attack. “As interventional cardiologists, we are saving lives every time that we are on call. It is enormously gratifying that we can do so. We have devised safe and effective treatments that were previously unheard of, and we can administer these new treatments in a safe and effective manner,” said Mehta.

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