Dr. Morant doesn't miss a beat

Dr. Morant

Dr. Kareem Morant brings a great deal of expertise and enthusiasm to his role as Director of the Graham & Audrey Rosenberg Family Cardiac Care Clinic at North York General Hospital (NYGH), and as an Assistant Adjunct Professor with the University of Toronto. Since joining NYGH a little over a year ago, Dr. Morant's vision is grand and his energy infectious.

Cardiology is a rapidly evolving field, and Dr. Morant is keen to establish North York General as a centre for excellence in all areas of cardiovascular medicine, including heart function specialties and advanced heart failure treatments. “Our goal is to grow the cardiology program and do more for the patients of this community,” says Dr. Morant. “There is definitely an opportunity to further expand the breadth of cardiac care we provide, especially with the formation of the Ontario Health Team, the North York Toronto Health Partners.”

The Graham & Audrey Rosenberg Family Cardiac Care Clinic treats patients suffering from heart failure, a chronic illness affecting roughly 600,000 Canadians every year and the leading cause of hospital admissions for adults 65 years and older. “As people age the heart muscles eventually weaken or become too stiff, preventing it from pumping blood efficiently,” explains Dr. Morant. “Not only is the heart responsible for distributing blood throughout the body, but it’s also meant to accommodate blood from the lungs – another important function.”

The clinic serves as an outpatient resource centre, treating patients with new or previous diagnoses of heart failure. The care team works to improve clinical outcomes and quality of life through symptom management, education, and ongoing comprehensive support for patients and their families, including those at advanced stages of the illness. “The Supportive Cardiology Program is a unique service offered through the Graham & Audrey Rosenberg Family Cardiac Care Clinic,” notes Dr. Morant. “We have palliative care physicians and nurse practitioners collaborating with the existing cardiac team to help individuals suffering from challenging symptoms or living with more advanced heart failure. We want patients and caregivers to maximize the benefits of this support, so timing is key.”

While there are many underlying risk factors leading to heart failure, cardiac amyloidosis is a rarer and lesser-known condition affecting heart function and is underdiagnosed. “I’m particularly interested in a specific sub-type of cardiac amyloidosis, called transthyretin amyloidosis or ATTR,” explains Dr. Morant. “It’s a relatively new and emerging diagnosis and through research we’re learning a lot more about it”

“ATTR is characterized by abnormal protein (amyloids) deposits in the body’s organs, including the heart,” says Dr. Morant. “The accumulation of deposits causes the heart tissue to thicken and stiffen, impacting the heart’s ability to pump effectively.”

“Today we’re in a much better position to recognize ATTR, due to increased awareness and better diagnostic tools,” notes Dr. Morant. He worked with colleagues in NYGH's Medical Imaging department to introduce a novel diagnostic technique to better identify suspected cases of ATTR called a PYP Scan. It’s considered a new technology in the cardiology field.

Just prior to becoming the Director of the clinic last August, Dr. Morant had completed an Advanced Echocardiography Fellowship at the Mayo Clinic’s College of Medicine and Science in Rochester, Minnesota, where he maintains ongoing research collaborations. He has also completed an Observership in Heart Failure at Toronto General Hospital for further training in his specialty.

When he isn’t running the clinic, pursuing his research interests, or teaching residents, you can find Dr. Morant collecting retro high-top sneakers and looking for ways to grow his impressive footwear collection. Next on his list: Air Jordan 14 Retro in black and white.

This article first appeared in the September 2020 issue of The Pulse.

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