ST. CLOUD, Minn. (FOX 9) – CentraCare Hospital in St. Cloud is the first in the world to use 4D technology during heart surgery so that the cardiologist can see in and around the heart with a hologram.
The groundbreaking innovation is used in patients with structural heart problems such as atrial fibrillation. FOX 9 went to the operating room Thursday to see the sixth procedure using EchoPixel technology.
“I thought I was in Star Wars, this is space age stuff,” said Dr. Jake Dutcher, a CentraCare cardiologist. “It just blew me away to see something with this clarity and to actually see something floating. It’s cool, it’s very cool. “
The patient has atrial fibrillation and is given a device called a WATCHMAN. It closes off part of the heart to prevent a blood clot from forming. It’s a crucial procedure because a clot can lead to a stroke. Now, however, the process is performed even more precisely than ever, using both EchoPixel 3D and 4D technology.
“It is software that enables clinicians to use standard medical images such as ultrasound or CT to see the patient as a hologram that they can reach around and reach in and interact with,” said Sergio Aguirre, CEO of EchoPixel.
Glasses only allow the doctor to see the hologram. To the naked eye, it is like just moving the pen in space, but the doctor can see the patient’s heart, measure it, see its unique properties, and anything that could affect the WATCHMAN’s placement.
“And being able to see this in four dimensions and live and in motion gives me as a doctor more confidence that I am satisfied with the location of this device and that we will achieve an ultimate positive result for the patient,” said Dr. Dutch.
Immediately ready for use, the WATCHMAN device can be folded up like an umbrella and pushed through a catheter to the heart. Dr. Dutcher uses the hologram to place it.
“We now have a hologram that is right over the patient and I can see the device and catheter as we implant it into the appendage,” said Dr. Dutcher.
This technology helps reduce treatment time, allows little or no contrast dye, which can be toxic to the kidneys, and involves less radiation. At CentraCare there are around 12 to 15 A-fib operations per month.
Medical staff informed FOX 9 that the patient’s procedure was a success. While the patients are staying overnight, they will likely go home the next day.