Patients are increasingly surviving into adult life but many will require further procedures later in life. Patients have their own particular variation of their heart condition, so careful individualised imaging is essential to plan cardiac surgery and other interventions.
Many patients affected with structural heart disease continue to have a poor understanding of their heart condition. In addition, healthcare professionals have often difficulty understanding different types of heart defects. We aim at solving these issues with our new and enhanced imaging technique.
Our system is able to project standard medical images of the heart of a patient, for example 3D echocardiography images, into a virtual reality or augmented reality environment. The result is an immersive beating 3D projection of the heart which can be visualised from all sides and angles, and easily manipulated intuitively through gesture control.
Accurate understanding of a heart abnormality is critical for effective surgery and catheter intervention. The technology we are developing will empower clinicians with the visualisation of complex heart structures prior to surgery. The relevant tools for manipulating and sharing images are being developed as part of this project.
By involving patients, carers and healthcare professionals in this project, we are actively exploring the utility of this technology as an educational and training tool.
We acknowledge the support of the Evelina Children’s Heart Organisation (ECHO) for public and patient involvement and engagement.
This work is independent research funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), Invention for Innovation programme (reference number: II-LA-0716-20001). The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health.