The Montreal Heart Institute Foundation announces the new André Chagnon Research Chair in Congenital Heart Disease

Home > Press room > The Montreal Heart Institute Foundation announces the new André Chagnon Research Chair in Congenital Heart Disease

August 5, 2020

This project is made possible thanks to a $2 million donation from Sojecci

The Montreal Heart Institute Foundation is pleased to announce the creation of the André Chagnon Research Chair in Congenital Heart Disease. Thanks to a $2 million donation from Sojecci, this new Research Chair will provide a better understanding of the complex issue of sudden death in children and young adults born with congenital heart disease, which is a heart defect present at birth, so that innovative approaches can be developed for the management and care of these patients.

Specifically, it will allow:

  • the establishment of a provincial cohort of over 100,000 patients with congenital heart disease;
  • the creation of registries to better assess the risk factors associated with these conditions;
  • the establishment of an international research network of leading experts; and,
  • support of several hopeful programs.

These include one driven by Dr. Paul Khairy, Cardiac Electrophysiologist and Scientific Director of the Institute’s Adult Congenital Heart Centre, on the Prevention of Sudden Death in Congenital Heart Disease. This unique program studies arrhythmia in patients with congenital heart disease. Its goal is to deepen the clinical understanding of this cardiac arrhythmia, to develop state-of-the-art medicine to better treat them, and to reduce the risk of sudden death. Within 10 years, such a program could reduce the incidence of sudden death in children and young adults with congenital heart disease by more than 25%. Arrhythmia remains the leading cause of hospitalization and morbidity/mortality in adults with congenital heart disease.

“Research is critical to advancing knowledge about congenital heart defects. With this Research Chair, my hope is that together we can give children and young adults suffering from these diseases the best chances of living a healthy life,” says André Chagnon, Chairman of the Board of Sojecci – Chagnon Family Management Company.

“It is with great gratitude that we salute the generosity of Mr. André Chagnon. This new Chair recognizes the quality and leadership of the Montreal Heart Institute in cardiovascular health. The Chair will help advance clinical care, research and teaching related to congenital heart disease to provide better care for our patients,” said Alain Gignac, President and CEO of the Montreal Heart Institute Foundation.

“The Montreal Heart Institute is an international reference centre treating congenital heart disease. The new Research Chair will allow us to develop our expertise and continue to welcome complex cases from around the world,” said Dr. Paul Khairy.

Congenital Heart Disease

Congenital heart disease refers to heart malformations present at birth. From mild to severe, they account for 1% of births. Until recently, only one third of these children survived into adulthood. Today, thanks to improvements in pediatric cardiac surgery and care of young patients, the adult congenital population now outnumbers the pediatric congenital population[1]. As a result, the management of adult patients with congenital heart disease has become a specialty of cardiology in its right. However, the medical needs of adult patients with such diseases remain diverse and complex, requiring further research in this area.

About the Montreal Heart Institute Foundation

Founded in 1977, the Montreal Heart Institute Foundation raises and administers funds to support the Institute’s priority and innovative projects and fight cardiovascular diseases, the world’s number one cause of mortality. Its philanthropic events and the contributions of its donors have enabled this leading cardiovascular health care organization to become the largest cardiac research centre in the country. Since its creation, the Foundation has raised more than $309 million in donations. Its 26,032 donors helped make important discoveries and support specialists, professionals and researchers of the Institute to provide care at the cutting edge of technology to tens of thousands of patients in Quebec.

About the Montreal Heart Institute

Founded in 1954, the Montreal Heart Institute constantly aims for the highest standards of excellence in the cardiovascular field through its leadership in clinical and basic research, ultra-specialized care, professional training, and prevention. It houses the largest research center in Canada, the largest cardiovascular prevention center in the country, and a cardiovascular genetics center. The Institute is affiliated with the University of Montreal and has more than 2,000 employees, including 245 doctors and more than 85 researchers.


[1] Ariane MARELLI, Lifetime prevalence of congenital heart disease in the general population from 2000 to 2010, August 26th, 2014.

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