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Dr. Jaffer Syed

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Dr. Jaffer Syed had his dream job of establishing a new cardiac cath lab program in his hometown of St. Catherines.

In an effort to help build his program, he reached out to an old friend, Dr. Hahn Hoe Kim, a cardiologist working at St. Mary’s. But his effort to recruit failed and Dr. Kim turned the tables, instead convincing Jaffer that where he really belonged was St. Mary’s.

Turns out he was right. Today, Jaffer feels like he and his family are truly in a place they can call home.

Dr. Syed brings with him a wealth of advanced training from the University of Toronto, Sunnybrook Hospital and London Health Sciences, where he developed a special interest in an interventional cardiac procedure known as “rotational atherectomy.”  With this technique, Dr. Syed removes build up in the heart’s vessels by using a microscopic drill that rotates at 180,000 rotations per minute (on the highway, your car’s tires are likely spinning around 3,500 rpm’s).

This delicate procedure is remarkably effective and, prior to his arrival at St. Mary’s, was not being performed in Waterloo Region. Today, Dr. Syed not only performs these procedures himself, he has trained other members of the St. Mary’s cardiac team to do the same.

In addition to enhancing our ability to perform more complex procedures, Dr. Syed has been instrumental in changing the way he and his colleagues execute routine cardiac catheterizations. For the last 15 years, the majority of these diagnostic tests were done by inserting a catheter through a small incision in the groin and up to the heart via the femoral artery. While safe and effective, the time needed to recover is significant compared to carrying out the same procedure through a radial artery in the arm.

Today, most of St. Mary’s procedures are done this way. Not only is it a less invasive surgical practice, it allows patients to go home the same day; freeing up urgently needed hospital beds and shortening wait times.

“The work we do is more complex than people realize and that comes from a hospital that is obviously well supported. This great community and the strong loyalty they show to St. Mary’s made this a perfect fit for me, and my family,” says Dr. Jaffer.