Sept. 14, 2022

Aortic specialist joins Calgary’s surgical team

Dr. Holly Smith brings cutting-edge cardiac surgery techniques
Headshot of cardiac surgeon Dr. Holly Smith

Calgary’s cardiac surgical group recently got a boost.

Dr. Holly Smith, MD, recently returned to Calgary, where she completed her cardiac surgical training in 2021, to join the team.

Smith recently completed an Advanced Aortic Surgery and Structural Heart Fellowship at the University of Texas in Houston and brings cutting-edge expertise in aortic valve replacement, aortic reconstruction and minimally invasive procedures.

She is excited about joining the team of staff surgeons.

“I am really happy to be back in Calgary, and joining a team of world-class surgeons,” says Smith.

Smith will join Calgary’s Aortic Program, which is made up of a multidisciplinary team of vascular and heart surgeons, cardiologists and interventional radiologists. These specialists collaborate to improve outcomes for patients undergoing aortic dissections, thoracoabdominal aneurysm repairs and complex aortic arch repairs.

Smith’s interest in cardiac surgery first blossomed while she was in medical school at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.

“I was on track to do anesthesia, but during an elective in the intensive care unit, I was exposed to heart surgery and I was intrigued,” says Smith. “I thought, ‘this is something I could see myself doing as a career.’”

Her decision to pursue a specialty in aortic surgery was based on personal interest and a desire to fill a niche in the surgical world.

According to Smith, new endovascular techniques, which involve undertaking complex repairs in the heart using a catheter inserted through a tiny incision in the groin, make it a great time to get involved.

“There is a lot going on in the aortic space,” she says. “The boundaries of what is possible are being pushed, and I am excited to be part of that.”

Dr. Holly Smith is an assistant clinical professor in the Department of Cardiac Sciences at the Cumming School of Medicine. She is a member of the Libin Cardiovascular Institute.