Research at University Health Network
Technology Transfer
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Heather J Ross, BSc, MHSc, MD, FRCPC
Affiliate Scientist, Toronto General Research Institute (TGRI)
Keywords: Quality of Life, Prognosis, Transplantation, Advanced Heart Failure 

Research Interests
Quality of Life (2002-present)
1) End of Life: My research interests focus on issues related to end of life in patients with advanced heart failure, specifically targeting care gaps in end of life care, assessing the impact of end of life and ICD deactivation discussions and trying to understand treatment preferences at the end of life. These studies have advanced my knowledge in areas of qualitative research including the richness of data obtained by qualitative studies. As a result we have developed a platform of research in Quality of Life addressing quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods research to better understand end of life, and how to improve care delivery to patients and caregivers. I continue to pursue research in this area as I believe it profoundly affects patient care. A better understanding of patient preferences and how to realize these will improve care at end of life.

2) Phenomenological Assessment of the patient experience across the trajectory from heart failure, mechanical circulatory support through to transplantation. Many know heart transplantation presents challenges such as physiological rejection, but few are aware that recovered heart recipients also report significant issues around identity and mental health. As most quantitative research on the issues has failed to capture the depth/extent and reasons for the trouble, our interdisciplinary team turned to the phenomenology of Merleau-Ponty and the literature on qualitative visual analysis to explore the experience of heart failure, mechanical circulatory support and simultaneously losing/gaining a heart. Further, we are also addressing the donor family perspective on the gift of life and anonymity in transplantation.

Outcomes Research
One of the most challenging aspects in heart failure is to accurately predict prognosis. Prognosis is of critical importance in heart failure where many independent variables predict outcomes, all of which influence decision making re device therapies, and timing of transplantation and mechanical circulatory support. We have established and maintain a large database that allows us to assess our ability to predict prognosis.

Pubmed Publications
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  Heather  J Ross

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