Watch above: 3-D technology has been a big hit at the movies, and now it’s helping surgeons detect and treat heart conditions. Su-Ling Goh reports.
EDMONTON – Canada’s only 3D Virtual Cardiac Centre has opened right here in Edmonton.
The Servier Virtual Cardiac Centre at the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute is an advanced visualization lab for cardiac imaging. Hearts and blood vessels can now be analyzed in three dimensions on screen. The imaging allows for cardiac care specialists to examine all areas of a heart, both inside and out.
Cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons can now plan and practice their operations more efficiently prior to surgery.
“You can really see what the valve looks like, and for our surgeons, that’s a benefit,” said Dr. Michelle Noga, the medical director of the Servier Virtual Cardiac Centre.
Noga came up with the idea for the virtual cardiac centre through her own frustrations as a radiologist.
“I’d do some image reconstructions with our software and it didn’t fully get the idea across to [our surgeons]. So I thought, ‘we have to do something that’s more 3D, because that’s more like real life.'”
Thanks to a $1 million donation to the University Hospital Foundation in 2007 and some free Internet software to assist in building the technology, Noga and her team were able to realize her vision and forever change the way cardiovascular doctors do their work.
She explained how the development will particularly benefit children and people who have unique diseases, “some hearts are very unique and complicated,” she said. To aid in those situations, the new technology can allow for surgical equipment to be customized before the surgery to help reduce surgery time and complications, improving patient outcomes.
“Eventually we would like to launch into technology that you could feel what was on the screen. It would be holographic, but you could feel it.” Noga described how the visualization lab would play a great role in education. “If [students] can practice not on a real patient but on virtual data sets, we think that would be better.”
The technology allows for more lifelike renderings of patients’ hearts and improves the ability to diagnose complicated conditions.
With files from Su-Ling Goh, Global News.
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