Image: Jennifer and Jason Spencer
Jennifer and Jason Spencer


Patients' Lives Made Better

Jason Spencer Back on the Beat After Heart Surgery

Jason Spencer was a fit, six feet two inches, 30-year-old police officer who never dreamed he would be hit with the frightening diagnosis of heart disease, until the Summer of 2004.

Jason had felt a pain in his chest that wouldn’t go away. When X-rays showed nothing, his family doctor recommended a heart specialist, who found that Jason had Marfan syndrome. This rare, progressive disease usually affects males of tall stature and causes a life threatening swelling of the aorta – the main artery leaving the heart. Jason was shocked. “It’s pretty disturbing to go from 100 per cent healthy to having an inherited disease.”

He was referred to cardiologist Dr. Michael Borger at Toronto General Hospital where medical imaging and tests confirmed the diagnosis. Jason’s aorta had already swollen to a dangerous thickness, beyond the point where drugs could control it. It needed repair – and soon.

In January 2005 Jason underwent life-saving heart surgery, returning home after 5 days. There, Jason slowly regained his strength and in May was back on the beat. “Dr. Borger and the whole hospital staff were just incredible,” says Jason.

Peter Munk Cardiac Centre is the premier cardiac centre in Canada
Each year, approximately 17,000 patients receive innovative and compassionate care from Peter Munk Cardiac Centre's (PMCC) world-renowned heart team at Toronto General Hospital. Like Jason, many of these patients have very complex heart conditions that require skilled surgeons, vital life-saving equipment and research to explore new approaches in the fight against heart disease. Read more about UHN's Peter Munk Cardiac Centre.

There’s always an answer. We’ll find it.

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