Medical team led by Dr. Bill Kostuk shares expertise in Belarus

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Heart surgeons from Western University are in Belarus to share their expertise. On Monday, Belarusian and Canadian heart surgeons, led by Dr. Bill Kostuk conducted several coronary angioplasty surgeries at the Belarusian Emergency Hospital in Minsk.

The surgeries were performed during a visit of Canadian heart surgeons from Western University's Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry to Belarus. "Patients having one or two damaged coronary arteries were selected for the surgery. We could help them by putting a stent in the narrowed segments of coronary arteries" says Kostuk.

The major goal of the visit is studying case management of cardiovascular patients and sharing best practices. "We have common issues, because the number of people having circulatory diseases is increasing globally. We need to foster the development of heart surgery and train more heart surgeons,"says Kostuk.

Head of the 3rd sub-department of internal medicine of the Belarusian State Medical University, Natalia Mitkovskaya said that cooperation with Canadian heart surgeons started in 1998. Back then intervention cardiology was at a poor state in Belarus: there were few laboratories; the regions did not have this service at all. However, things are absolutely different now, she said.

Since 1998 Canadian heart surgeons have been visiting Belarus every year. "They do it on their own initiative and using their own funds. We have toured all Belarusian clinics that have intervention laboratories together. They got a clear idea of our cardiology service. Now, 15 years later, they come not only to hold master classes, but also to exchange best practices. We are already on a par with them," says Mitkovskaya.

Bill Kostuk confirmed it: "Fifteen years ago Belarus just started conducting angioplasty surgeries. Initially Canadian specialists would come to help them to master new procedures. Over the past decade, they have made such impressive progress that we are on equal footing now".

Chairman of the healthcare committee of the Minsk City Hall Viktor Sirenko noted that such visits are a good opportunity to learn about heart surgery practices in other countries, including Canada.