Innovations of 3-D and 4-D imaging and its collaboration with informational technology experts are potentially game-changers in coronary interventions and structural heart procedures.
FREMONT, CA: There have been enormous advances in 3-dimensional technologies in the last few years, not only in medical and surgical fields but also in daily lives outside of work, with new features in mobile phones, computer design programs, and movies. 4-dimensional imaging captures 3-D images over time. These technologies are important in cardiology, particularly in interventional cardiology. Recently, innovations in both 3-D and 4-D technologies have been developed. Here is an exploration of some of these innovations and how they are the potential game-changers in the cath lab.
• 3-D Holograms
This technology was displayed at the Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT) 2019 meeting. It converts live transesophageal echo imaging into real-time 3-D holographic video in the cath lab to help structural heart procedures. The 3-D hologram is projected on a display screen, and the interventional cardiologist leverages hand movements and switches to change the image orientation without breaking the sterile field. It also enables the operator to see the tools in the cath lab, including catheters, in real-time in a 3-D format. This technology does not even need the user to wear 3-D glasses.
• HeartFlow Planner
This is a noninvasive, real-time virtual device for coronary artery disease intervention. It enables interventional cardiologists to virtually map vessels on a 3-D coronary tree, with color codes indicating the fractional flow reserve-computed tomography values for each vessel as measured by a computational fluid dynamics algorithm. This seems to be the best tool for percutaneous coronary intervention planning in vessels with the disease, as it aims to provide a noninvasive way to find whether a stenotic lesion is potentially flow limiting.
• 3-D Printing
3-D printing is used in the surgical fields. It refers to making complex 3-D objects from computer-powered designs. This technology has been utilized in structural heart procedures in the last few years, where these 3-D models can be printed from a patient’s magnetic resonance imaging, CT, or 3-D ultrasound images. These 3-D printed structures help with procedural planning and device sizing and enable operators to practice dry runs and perform pre-procedural navigation.