Sunday, 22 April 2012

heart surgery

A team of doctors and nurses take part in an emerging new heart surgery known as trans-catheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI), at the Saint John Regional Hospital on March 23, 2012. Photo: Kâté Braydon/Telegraph-Journal

Hey there! The pictures you are about to see are from a heart surgery I photographed at the end of March. There is a bit of blood, but nothing extreme. Just wanted to put that out there first in case you're the queasy type....

So this was definitely one of my favourite assignments to date. I am not the queasy type, and get really excited about surgery footage and pictures. A few years back, I had the privilege of shooting an open-heart surgery, which was also amazing. This surgery is fairly new. It's actually still considered 'experimental' by Health Canada. It's known as trans-catheter aortic valve implantation, or TAVI, and it involves inserting a collapsible valve on a catheter and then guiding it through an artery in the leg and up to the heart. This is a picture of the's made out of bovine tissue!

The patient's name was Winston Churchill Hurry. Seriously, that was really his name. Awesome. His problem was that his own aortic valve had a large build up of calcium, a blockage, which meant his heart was having a hard time pumping blood through it to the rest of his body. So this valve is actually inserted into his own calcified valve, and it just takes over. Crazy.

This is the small incision in Winston's leg where the catheter holding the valve is inserted.

And there he is! Winston just 3 days after the surgery, feeling great and going home.

What an inspiration to see these doctors in action. The energy in the room was electric and exciting. Everyone in the room went out of their way to make sure that the reporter and I understood exactly what was happening. I had free reign to walk around the room to get every angle possible. And I took full advantage. I shot about 1500 frames in approximately 3 hours, the entire length of the surgery. In the end I managed to edit down to around 60 pictures.

The reporter and I had to change into full scrubs, including booties, a mask and a cap. We also had to wear robes made of lead because of the x-ray equipment in the room. It weighed 30 pounds! That, combined with holding my camera gear, which weighs around 20 pounds, and having to be on my feet for 3 hours, was challenging. But once the surgery was underway, I was so consumed by all of the visuals that I didn't even notice the extra weight.

This story was published in the Telegraph-Journal this past weekend, April 21. To read the story and see more photos, check out I have to warn you though, the website is now behind a paywall, so if you're not a subscriber, you won't be able to log in.

Also, check out to donate to The Give campaign. This year the Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation is raising money for the heart centre. They need our support!

Thanks for reading!


  1. Very cool, Kate. My father in law works in that OR; he runs the heart machine. My wife works on the heart surgery recovery floor. They all do really cool things in the centre there.

    1. Agree! And it's obvious that they all are very passionate about their work. Thanks for reading!

  2. Amazing! K, those shots are wicked! What a workout 50 lbs would be for 3 hours! i bet you were exhausted the next day!


    1. Thanks Barb! Thankfully the next day was a Saturday! What sucked was being back on regular assignment for the rest of my shift.

  3. Heart Surgery CentreWelcome to Novena Heart Centre, the largest Heart Failure Centre in Singapore provides Pulmonary Hypertension and cardiac healthcare for local and foreign patients.

  4. Welcome to Novena Heart Centre, the largest Heart Failure Centre in Singapore .

    Pulmonary Hypertension

  5. Welcome to Novena Heart Centre, Know about HEART ATTACK - symptoms disease, treatment. Novena Heart is national heart center and available Cardiologist Singapore.