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New AR Device Helps Cardiologists Plan and Perform Complex Procedures

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 12 Nov 2018
Augmented Reality (AR), a technology that superimposes computer-generated information on a user's view of the real world, offers a new platform to help physicians better visualize complex medical data, particularly before and during medical procedures.

A new self-contained AR device aims to provide an immersive AR experience in which surgeons can interactively explore data in three dimensions (3D). By projecting 3D imagery onto a glass screen worn like a diving mask on the surgeon’s face, AR provides 3D depth perception and allows surgeons to interact with the medical data without physically touching a screen or computer mouse, maintaining a sterile environment and reducing the risk of infection.

Image: The self-contained AR device is designed to provide an immersive AR experience in which surgeons can interactively explore data in three dimensions (Photo courtesy of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center).
Image: The self-contained AR device is designed to provide an immersive AR experience in which surgeons can interactively explore data in three dimensions (Photo courtesy of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center).

Researchers at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (Boston, MA, USA) who conducted a study to assess the potential of AR for helping cardiologists visualize myocardial scarring in the heart as they perform ventricular tachycardia ablation or other electrophysiological interventions have found that the new technology confers a number of advantages.

In a pilot study, the researchers applied the AR technique as they generated holographic 3D scar in five animal models that underwent controlled infarction and electrophysiological study. 3D holographic visualization of the scar was performed to assist assessment of the complex 3D scar architecture. An operator and mapping specialist viewed the holographic 3D scar during electrophysiological study, and completed the perceived usefulness questionnaire in the six-item usefulness scale and found it useful to have scar information during the intervention. The user could interactively explore 3D myocardial scar in the AR environment that allows for the combination of holographic 3D LGE data interacting with any real-world environments, such as a surgical suite or patient’s body.

“Augmented reality allows physicians to superimpose images, such as MRI or CT scans, as a guide during therapeutic intervention,” said Jihye Jang, a PhD Candidate at the Cardiac Magnetic Resonance (MR) Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. “Our report shows exciting potential that having this complex 3D scar information through augmented reality during the intervention may help guide treatment and ultimately improve patient care. Physicians can now use AR to view 3D cardiac MR information with a touchless interaction in sterile environment.”

Related Links:
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center


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