Coming home to heal hearts

Dr. Shuangbo Liu (l), with cardiology colleagues Dr. Olga Toleva (c) and Dr. Shelley Zieroth in 2019.

April 7, 2021

Whether a heart attack or a milder concern, most acute coronary conditions reveal the same underlying problem: obstructive coronary artery disease.

What do we know about such conditions when the disease is not present?

Dr. Shuangbo Liu, a clinician-scientist and interventional cardiologist with St. Boniface Hospital and the University of Manitoba, is searching for better answers to the question.

And thanks to an anonymous St. Boniface Hospital Foundation donor, Dr. Liu has funding to support her research over the next three years.

“A significant subset of patients – especially women under age 50 – suffer myocardial infarction with no obstructive coronary artery disease,” she said.

“Despite increasing recognition of these conditions, these patients are still underdiagnosed and undertreated. Long-term outcomes remain poorly understood.”

The conditions include the spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) heart attack, in which a small tear forms within one of the blood vessels in the heart. It can lead to blood flow problems, heart attack, abnormalities in heart rhythm, and even death.

Knowing someone out there believes in the research I’m doing means the world to me.

During the Wear Red initiative for women’s heart health in February 2021, two former St. Boniface Hospital cardiac patients reflected on how their SCAD heart attacks have changed their lives.

“Research is going to help us determine optimal treatments and long-term outcomes in this emerging area,” said Liu, who is also involved with Wear Red Canada.

A homecoming

Liu grew up in Winnipeg and received her training in the city before building her career with hospitals in Ontario. She returned to Manitoba in September 2020.

She’s excited to be back home and thankful to receive support for her work.

“It means so much to me to have donor support for my research on cardiovascular (heart health) outcomes. The support of the donor and St. Boniface Hospital Foundation has allowed me to establish my research program – focusing on cardiovascular outcomes and women’s heart health.”

Help St. Boniface Hospital provide excellent cardiac care and pursue ground-breaking cardiac research. Donate today.