Video Games Go Inside the Heart
Reported September 07, 2009
BOSTON (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- It helps
action heroes jump off the TV screen into your living room … the same
technology could also help surgeons operate on tiny hearts. A technique used
in video games allows doctors to see inside a beating heart like never
before. It could eliminate open heart surgery and the life-threatening risks
it carries for kids.
In the first three years of her life, Josephine Rizzo had already endured
three open heart surgeries to fix a congenital defect. Each time, doctors
had to stop her heart to operate.
"The biggest part with stopping the heart is it stopping, and the whole
thought process is, is it going to restart," Josephine's mother, Courtney
Rizzo, told Ivanhoe.
Stopping children's hearts is risky. Surgeons have to open the chest. The
large incisions can scar the heart and disrupt its rhythm, and putting kids
on a bypass machines increases the risk of organ damage.
"The goal is to avoid the so-called open part of open heart surgery," Pedro
del Nido, M.D., Chief of Cardiac Surgery at Children's Hospital Boston, told
But that can't happen in kids until surgeons have real-time imaging of the
heart that allows them to see depth.
"You don't have the ability to know what's
near and far," Dr. del Nido said.
The technology may come from an unlikely source -- the video game industry.
Three-d stereo glasses that make games bounce off the screen are doing the
same for ultrasounds. The glasses turn images of a beating heart into moving
holograms, giving surgeons the feeling of actually being inside the heart
In a study in pigs, surgeons using the glasses were able to close a hole in
a beating heart 44 percent faster. The next step -- surgery on a child's
"If you don't have to do an open procedure, length of hospital stay,
recovery period would all be shortened," Dr. del Nido said.
Technology designed for fun and games, helping kids like Josephine endure
less pain and conquer the next level of childhood.
Clinical trials of the beating heart surgery in children could begin this
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Children's Hospital Boston