A letter from Dr. Aly Ghoneim

When you hear the words “open-heart surgery”, what do you think of? Fear? Risk? What if I told you that your help could lead to a less invasive procedure being done for the first time, here in Saskatchewan?

My name is Dr. Aly Ghoneim and as a cardiac surgeon at Royal University Hospital (RUH), I deal with some of the most complex heart surgeries in the province.

Each year, hundreds of patients come to RUH for heart surgery with many requiring urgent mitral valve replacement. The mitral valve is one of four important heart valves that helps blood flow through the heart and out to the body. If left untreated, mitral valve disease can lead to a leaky or stuck-shut valve resulting in serious conditions such as heart failure and heart rate irregularities that worsen survival and quality of the patient’s life.

At RUH, we perform mitral valve open-heart surgeries through our standard midline chest incision called sternotomy, which requires cutting the chest with an electric saw. While this is a safe and effective access, it remains a remarkably major invasive procedure that makes recovery lengthy and painful for our patients. With your help, we can do better.

As a surgeon who has benefited from the generosity of RUH Foundation donors, I want to personally thank you for your past support! Your donations have helped provide the medical teams at RUH with the specialized equipment we need and use every day to improve patient care and change people’s lives.

Today, I am asking for your help to purchase new state-of-the-art equipment that will enable us to provide a leading-edge alternative to open-heart surgery at RUH.

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There are many cardiac patients in our province that can benefit from our minimally invasive program. With your support, we can purchase a dedicated laparoscopic cardiac
surgery stack that would bring new hope to those patients.

This new equipment would allow us, for the first time in our province, to perform minimally invasive surgery in order to fix the diseased mitral valve rather than traditional open-heart surgery.

For the patient, this means smaller, less noticeable scars that heal much faster; reduced pain; shorter hospital stay; quicker recovery time; and a speedier return to normal activities.

In addition, your support will continue to give surgeons like me the tools we need to provide excellent surgical precision and visibility resulting in lower risks and better outcomes for our cardiac patients – maybe even you or someone you love.”

Thank you for helping bring a dedicated Laparoscopic Cardiac Surgery Stack to Saskatchewan and creating hope for RUH patients and their families. Your gift, no matter the
size, will help us save and improve lives.


Aly Ghoneim

Aly Ghoneim, MD, PhD, FRCSC
Professor (Assistant) of Surgery
Minimally Invasive, Transcatheter and Aortic Reconstructive Surgery
Division of Cardiac Surgery
University of Saskatchewan
Royal University Hospital

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P.S. The staff at RUH Foundation are very easy to talk to about various ways to make a gift to benefit patients at RUH today and in the future. Please give Candace Boersma a call at 306.655.6501 or via candace.boersma@ruhf.org, if you are interested in hearing more about monthly giving, gifting shares or leaving a gift in your Will. You are helping to save and improve lives at RUH! Thank you.