First in Israel
The Institute of Cardiology at Schneider Children's, headed by Dr. Einat Birk, has been equipped with an innovative system that radiates 3-D holograms via medical imaging data in real-time. After conducting several clinical trials that were completed successfully, the first catheterization took place at the hospital where the patient's heart and catheters moving within it were displayed in a hologram in real time, which floated above the patient and opposite the eyes of the doctors during the actual procedure.
The groundbreaking system, which heretofore was seen only in science fiction movies, enables the doctor - during the catheterization procedure - to hold the hologram of the beating heart in his hand and receive comprehensive information. In addition to the image of the patient's heart displayed in two dimensions on standard screens, doctors can now demonstrate cardiac volume via 3D dynamic and interactive holograms while the heart "floats in open space", having been "printed" in 3D. The holograph is created by illuminated points of the highest resolution and at video speed, and is used during minimal invasive procedures of the heart without the need for 3D glasses. Doctors can interface with the 3D images of the heart by actual touching the space in which the hologram image is displayed. This revolutionary technology has the potential to improve the quality and capability needed in repairs of the heart's structures.
Dr. Birk stated that "hologram images permit us to see and understand the heart's structure in an open space. The hologram is based on information obtained by standard imaging elements such as ultrasound, CT or MRI, which enable us to see the beating heart in open air and thus better understand the essence of the defect according to which precise repair can be undertaken. Our current understanding is based upon our ability to comprehend the heart structure obtained from two-dimensional cross-sections. This new technology enables us for the first time to see a true 3D representation in real time of the heart with intuitive understanding of the various cardiac sections and the relationship between them. For example, we can obtain an image of a hole in the heart and follow the process of closing it during catheterization. The hologram system, whose development was a technological and engineering challenge, now allows doctors to take the best advantage of 3D imaging capability, and we are pleased to be the pioneers in this important field."
Dr. Elchanan Bruckheimer, Director of the Catheterization Unit in the Cardiology Institute at Schneider Children's, added that "in addition to the improved understanding of the heart's structure and the dynamic function of the patient's heart, as well as to the ability to get inside the image in open air and mark points in the soft tissue within the holographic image, there is enormous importance of the first degree in the diagnosis and performance of procedures within the structures of the heart. This realistic 3D display enables us to "move" between the heart's chambers during the catheterization procedure through intuitive understanding of the clinical data."
Dr. Efrat Bron-Harlev, CEO of Schneider Children's, said that "we at Schneider Children's are very proud to continue to lead in the arena of advanced medical systems that are on the cutting edge of technology and innovation. The hologram system installed in the Catheterization Unit in the largest cardiac facility of its kind in Israel and a leader in pediatric cardiology in the country, is the first, not only in the State of Israel, but also the first among all pediatric centers in the world."
The advancement of treatments in imaging terms of cardiac anomalies – including the widening of blocked or narrowed coronary blood vessels, catherization ablation (burning) procedures for arrythmias, and structural repair via catheterization such as heart valve replacement – dramatically raised the need for 3D guided imaging procedures that could augment and improve two-dimensional imaging used up till now. This required simultaneous integration of radiation and ultrasound imaging in real time and 3D for guiding minimal invasive procedures of the heart, which include inter alia, structural repairs utilizing detailed anatomical pictures of the heart's soft tissue combined with fluoroscopy (screening) that demonstrate the catheterization and cardiac grafts.
Shaul Gelman, CEO of RealView Imaging Ltd, said "with the huge progress made in minimal invasive procedures based upon medical imaging, we see more and more the need for using advanced 3D medical imaging. The move to display ultra-real holographs with vital information is natural and in my opinion, will fulfill an imporant role in global medical imaging centers in the coming years. We have great admiration for the medical team at Schneider Children's, and we are part of the shared vision to ensure the finest treatment for patients based upon advanced imaging that enables precision in the realm of minimal invasive procedures."
The technological advancement in obtaining 3D guided imaging systems for minimal invasive procedures together with the global leadership of the team at Schneider Children's in conducting imaging-based sophisticated procedures represent fertile ground for work with holographic technology. Following initial results of this breakthrough research, Schneider Children's and RealView Imaging will continue to investigate the clinical value of 3D holographic imaging, both in invasive cardiac procedures, and also in other medical fields.