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Cardiac Care turns to Virtual Reality

If you needed to see how well virtual reality (VR) was being adopted in real life, many people would look to the gaming industry to see the tech savvy geeks expressing enthusiastically about the wonder that is VR. But in reality one field that is openly experimenting with VR on a worldwide scale is medicine. VRFocus has covered a number of stories relating to VR in medicine, now researchers are looking at how the technology can improve cardiac care.

Website wtop.com caught up with a team of bioengineers from John Hopkins University to see a virtual heart. The team has created a custom computer-driven model of a patient’s heart using images from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Biomedical engineer, Professor Natalia Trayanova who heads the Computational Cardiology Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University has said: “The potential is enormous.”

TRAYANOVA_VR

Currently Trayanova and her team are concentrating on people who have arrhythmia – an irregular or fast heartbeat, coming from the lower chambers of the heart. In time the next step would be looking at arrhythmia in the upper chambers of the heart.

Usually the traditional procedure for finding the source of the arrhythmia would be a point-by-point probe of the heart with a catheter that can take hours. But with the virtual heart, doctors can find the problem area and directly treat it with an ablation to destroy a small piece of problematic tissue.

Trayanova still has red tape to go through before clinical trials can begin but she says: “We are extremely excited about that fundamental leap from basic science to the bedside and the patient.”

VRFocus continues to report on the latest advancements in all fields relating to VR.