A specialist NHS hospital in London, Evelina London, is partnering with King’s College to develop VR tech to better prepare surgeons for heart surgeries.
The technology uses a 3D digital image of the heart to assist surgeons during procedures. It can significantly reduce operation times and mitigate the need for further surgeries while augmenting the success rates and the overall patient experience.
Initial versions of the software have already helped surgeons improve their understanding of each patient’s heart structure through 3D imaging. Moreover, they can interact with the images in virtual reality before executing the surgery.
Professor John Simpson, Consultant Pediatric and Fetal Cardiologist at Evelina London and King’s College London, said, “Procedures to repair the heart’s anatomy can be complex, and surgeons don’t like surprises. Each patient’s condition has individual characteristics to their heart. Our technology will allow surgeons to plan and practice these procedures, and we’re currently applying for approval for it to be used in this way.”
“We think that this technology could also be used outside of congenital heart disease surgeries, to plan any procedure which aims to repair a structural problem within the heart, such as valve surgery in an adult patient,” he added.
Evelina London Children’s Charity and the British Heart Foundation have funded the initiative.
Last year, NHS England had deployed the tool HeartFlow to implement 3D imaging of the heart. The tool transforms regular heart CT scans into 3D images that assist clinicians in the diagnostic process.
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