In what could be a game changer in the field of medical imaging, an Israeli firm known as RealView Imaging enables physicians to manipulate and analyze a patient’s internal organ anatomy in midair in real time. A physician can, for instance, take a patient's heart model and rotate it and even slice it open to reveal the internal anatomy. These capabilities could assist in preoperative planning of minimally invasive procedures.
Long a staple of science fiction, a simple 3-D holograms can be made using lasers, lenses, a beam splitter, mirrors, and holographic film. The lenses work to diffuse light from the lasers, which is then split, and beamed onto a mirror and the target object.
RealView has teamed up with Philips to demonstrate the feasibility of the technology in minimally-invasive structural heart disease procedures. Last month, Philips announced that a small trial conducted in Israel improved clinicians' ability to understand device-tissue interaction during surgery. The trial, which involved eight patients, tested the use of holography to facilitate transcatheter device closure of atrial septal defect/patent foramen ovale and in an angiography evaluation.
The RealView system works by scanning the heart, accepting data from it into a digital light system, and creating an image made of 3-D pixels. The result is a smooth image of a beating heart hovering in the air. "The ability to reach into the image and apply markings on the soft-tissue anatomy in the x-ray and 3-D ultrasound images would be extremely useful for guidance of these complex procedures," explained Elchanan Bruckheimer, MD, from Schneider Children’s Medical Center in Israel at TCT. "Communication is better and there is no doubt that if you have better communication, you have a better understanding as a physician and therefore perform better and give better patient care. Hopefully we will have this in our labs very soon.”
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