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Dr. Heather Ross - University Health Network. Toronto, ON, CA

Dr. Heather Ross Dr. Heather Ross

Director - Cardiac Transplant Program, Peter Munk Cardiac Centre | University Health Network

Toronto, ON, CANADA

A widely recognized authority on heart failure, mechanical circulatory support and heart transplantation





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Heather Ross, MD, MHSc, FRCP (C), FACC is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto, Director of the Ted Rogers Centre of Excellence in Heart Function and holder of the Ted Rogers and Family Chair in Heart Function. She is Medical Director of the Cardiac Transplant Program at Toronto General Hospital. She received her medical degree from the University of British Columbia, Canada, her cardiology training at Dalhousie University, and her postdoctoral fellowship in Cardiac Transplantation at Stanford University, California. She earned her Masters Degree in Bioethics from the University of Toronto.

Dr. Ross served as the President of the Canadian Society of Transplantation in 2005, and an executive member of the International Society for Heart & Lung Transplantation from 2002 through 2005 and Secretary Treasurer 2007-2010. She has been a Supervisor for the CIHR Training Program in Regenerative Medicine since 2002, the Course Director (2007-2014) and Program Advisory Committee Chair and Co-Investigator (2008-2014). She Chaired the ISHLT Master Academy in Heart Failure in 2010. She was Associate Editor for the American Journal of Transplantation (2007-2010) and is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation. She served 5 years on the Canadian Cardiovascular Society Council, 3 years on the Canadian Cardiovascular Society Executive and on the Board of the Canadian Cardiovascular Society Academy. She was the Secretary Treasurer for the Canadian Cardiovascular Society Academy 2010-2012. She is currently on the executive of the Heart Failure Society of America and is the President of the Canadian Cardiovascular Society. She has published over 200 articles and won numerous teaching awards.

Industry Expertise (3)



Health Care - Services

Areas of Expertise (7)

Heart Failure/Function

Immunosuppressive Optimization

Clinical Research


Organ Donation

Education of Transplant Specialists

Quality of Life

Accomplishments (3)

Toronto's Best Doctors (professional)


Named 6th best doctor in Toronto by Toronto Life magazine.

Excellence in Postgraduate Medical Education Award, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto (professional)


In recognition of excellence in teaching performance/mentorship/advocacy

Teacher of the Year Award, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto (professional)


Teacher of the Year

Education (4)

University of Toronto: M.Sc., Bioethics 2002

Standford University: Postdoctoral Fellowship, Cardiac Implantation 1996

University of British Columbia: Residency, Internal Medicine 1992

University of British Columbia: MD, Medicine 1988

Affiliations (5)

  • Heart Failure Society of America : Executive Member
  • University of Toronto : Professor of Medicine
  • Ted Rogers Centre of Excellence in Heart Function : Head
  • Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation : Associate Editor
  • President of the Canadian Cardiovascular Society

Testimonials (1)

Al Dickstein, Cardiac Patient | Peter Munk Cardiac Centre

Dr. Ross is an amazing doctor and an amazing person. She is a leader in her field, her research is world renowned and she teaches. It doesn't hurt that she climbed mountains in the Antarctic and Arctic to raise awareness for heart disease and she plays in a band. She really impresses me.

Media Appearances (6)

Doctor hikes to raise awareness about heart health

Global News  tv


As head of the Cardiac Transplant Program at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, Dr. Heather Ross preaches the need for physical activity in order to maintain a healthy heart – and she’s taking her own advice.

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Helping hearts: How a cardiac transplant doctor got a new lease on life — from one of her own patients

National Post  online


“My life is worth one hour a day” is a motto that Dr. Heather Ross, Medical Director of the Cardiac Transplant Program at Toronto General Hospital, hopes her patients take to heart. Dr. Ross practices her motto by testing her limits physically. On September 14, 2014, she left for the Kingdom of Bhutan to complete one of the world’s most difficult hikes - the Snowman Trek - to raise funds and awareness for heart health, the rate of heart disease, and organ transplant.

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Test Your Limits

Global News  tv


Test Your Limits raises awareness and funds for heart health and organ donation. This year it involved the most challenging mountain trek on the planet and one Edmonton transplant recipient.

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Peter Worthington's exploits document a legendary career

Toronto Sun  online


Proceeds from former Sun News editor Peter Worthington's book will go towards a memorial fund in Worthington’s name, to support the work of his cardiologist, Dr. Heather Ross, and her team at the Supportive Care Unit in Heart Failure at Toronto General Hospital.

It’s an “incredible honour” to be acknowledged in such a fashion, Ross said in an interview. “It’s an amazing recognition by the family of the importance of end-of-life care and meeting the full needs both of patients and families of those who are dying from heart failure,” said Ross, director of the Ted Rogers Centre of Excellence in Heart Function at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre.

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Sun marks anniversary of Peter Worthington's death

Toronto Sun  online


The Toronto Sun marked the first anniversary of the death of its legendary founding editor, Peter Worthington, in May 2014. All proceeds from sales of Worthington's eBook will go towards a fund in his name to support the work of Dr. Heather Ross and her team and the Supportive Care Unit in Heart Failure at Toronto General Hospital.

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Toronto’s 30 Best Doctors

Toronto Life Magazine  print


At one of the province’s most advanced heart clinics, Ross sees the worst-off cardiac patients whose hearts won’t let them walk stairs or get dressed without gasping for air. After she exhausts all treatment options (medications, bypass surgery, angioplasty), Ross shepherds patients through the long transplant process.

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Event Appearances (2)

A Rationale (not Rationed) Approach to End Stage Heart Failure: When to choose between palliation and advanced surgical treatment

Atlantic Canada Cardiovascular Conference  Halifax, NS.


End of Life Care in Heart Failure

University of Toronto & InCor Cardiovascular Conference  São Paulo, Brazil


Articles (5)

Reduction of cyclosporine following the introduction of everolimus in maintenance heart transplant recipients: a pilot study Transplant International 23(1)


Data are scarce concerning the calcineurin inhibitor dose reduction required following introduction of everolimus in maintenance heart transplant recipients to maintain stable renal function. In a 48-week, multicenter, single-arm pilot study in heart transplant patients >12 months post-transplant, everolimus was started at 1.5 mg/day (subsequently adjusted to target C 0 5–10 ng/ml). Mycophenolate mofetil or azathioprine was discontinued on the same day and cyclosporine (CsA) dose was reduced by 25%, with a further 25% reduction each time calculated glomerular filtration rate (cGFR) decreased to

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How Aware of Advanced Care Directives Are Heart Failure Patients, and Are They Using Them? Canadian Journal of Cardiology 27(3)


The increasing prevalence of heart failure and its unpredictable trajectory highlight the need for patients to make their end-of-life care wishes known using advanced care directives (ACDs). The paucity of literature addressing heart failure patients' decision-making processes and knowledge of ACDs underscores the need for investigation. The purposes of this study were to (1) determine patients' awareness, comprehension, and utilization of ACDs and (2) determine their knowledge of the process of cardiopulmonary resuscitation and their current resuscitation preference.

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Quality of Life and Left Ventricular Assist Device Support Circulation


Left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) are mechanical pumps implanted into patients at risk of dying from Stage D heart failure. These devices not only increase survival time, they also significantly improve quality of life. Implantation of a LVAD improves hemodynamics and reduces congestion in both the pulmonary and peripheral vasculature. Improvements in forward blood flow are probably responsible for the significant reduction in the severity of dyspnea and fatigue postimplant. Quality of life is a subjective evaluation and includes aspects of physical, mental and social functioning. Quality of life is significantly improved after implantation of a LVAD, changes little over the duration of support and improves again following heart transplantation. Patients who are discharged home on support report significantly better quality of life than patients who remain in hospital. At home patients can resume physical, mental and social activities that were compromised preimplant. A significant decline in functional ability while on support may be a trigger for patients to initiate discussions regarding LVAD withdrawal. While the bulk of evidence was generated during the era of pulsatile support, preliminary information suggests similar results can be anticipated for patients supported on continuous-flow devices.

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Lost in Translation: Examining Patient and Physician Perceptions of Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator Deactivation Discussions Circulation Heart Failure


Examining Patient and Physician Perceptions of Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator Deactivation Discussions

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Risk Prediction Models for Mortality in Ambulatory Patients with Heart Failure: A Systematic Review Circulation Heart Failure


Optimal management of heart failure requires accurate assessment of prognosis. Many prognostic models are available. Our objective was to identify studies that evaluate the use of risk prediction models for mortality in ambulatory patients with heart failure and describe their performance and clinical applicability.

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