To understand, prevent and treat serious cardiovascular and metabolic disorders in Quebec, from the fetal period until the end of adolescence and beginning of adulthood—that’s why the CHU Sainte-Justine has assembled a large medical team to work in its metabolic and cardiovascular health area of excellence.

Joining together to understand, prevent and treat

The interdisciplinary teams of clinicians, researchers, health-care professionals and students at the CHU Sainte-Justine work together and combine their know-how to advance knowledge on cardiovascular health issues and thus offer children and their families the best possible screening, diagnosis, treatment and prevention.

With expertise in genomics and bioinformatics in particular, other senior teams in this area of excellence concentrate on glucolipid metabolic disorders, nontransmissible chronic cardiometabolic disorders, genetic metabolic disorders, and gastrointestinal, liver and nutritional disorders. 

  • A third of Quebec children are overweight or obese. 
  • One child in 100 suffers from heart trouble.
  • Cardiometabolic disorders, the leading cause of death among adults, begin in childhood. 
  • 3,000 new patients are referred every year to Sainte-Justine’s cardiology and heart surgery outpatient clinic, which handles close to 9,000 appointments a year.
  • Every year, 10 or so children, most of them under a year old, need a liver transplant.
  • Over the past 10 years, the CHU Sainte-Justine has seen a 20% to 30% increase in the number of patients with liver disease.


The CIRCUIT centre for family cardiovascular prevention and rehabilitation offers personalized treatment for children at risk of developing chronic illnesses by giving them tools that encourage them to move more in their home environment. 

The affected children are seen at the CHU Sainte-Justine and followed for at least two years, so the CIRCUIT team can monitor changes in their condition, assess the effectiveness of their treatment, make improvements and direct their research efforts.

Since CIRCUIT, I’m a lot more physically active. I even swim with my school swim team six hours a week. I’ve finally started to enjoy sports!

Théo Larose

Jack 02
Jack | Photo Credit : Genero Photo

Curing liver disease with regenerative medicine

Jack was just over a year old when he received part of his mother, Sarah’s, liver. As he suffered from biliary atresia, the transplant was his only hope of a cure. 

Even though the part of the liver he received was from his own mother and the transplant was a success, he will have to take antirejection drugs for the rest of his life. 

That’s why Dr. Massimiliano Paganelli, a clinical researcher at the CHU Sainte-Justine, and his team are working tirelessly to cure liver disease in children through regenerative medicine, without having to resort to transplants.

We’re talking about cell therapy, in which a patient’s own liver cells (with the genetic mutation corrected) or small livers generated from stem cells can be transplanted by means of minimally invasive surgery, without the need for antirejection drugs afterward.