Congenital heart disease (CHD) refers to heart problems which are present from birth. These can affect quality and length of life. CHD can include holes within the heart and abnormal valves which hinder the ability of the heart to pump blood around the body effectively. Most CHD is treated by a surgeon operating on the heart to repair it. Before any heart operation the surgeon has to fully understand the heart problem to enable planning for the repair - this is vital if the patient’s condition is to improve. Before any surgical procedure, detailed pictures and videos of the heart are taken by ultrasound (echocardiography) or other specialist techniques. The images and videos from such scans are currently shown on a flat screen like a television screen. In recent years, it has become possible to obtain "three-dimensional" pictures and videos but they are still presented on a flat screen. It would help surgeons understand the problem better if we could show moving pictures of the heart as truly three-dimensional pictures as if the heart were actually floating in front of our eyes.
The system we are developing will project true three-dimensional pictures and videos which will allow surgeons to examine the heart from any aspect or view before an operation. Surgeons and others will be able to see and measure the heart better than they can at present. The money we are seeking would allow this to happen.
Patients will benefit from the project in two major ways. Firstly, the results of the heart operation will improve because of better information being available to the surgeon. Secondly, many patients or parents still do not fully understand what is wrong with their or their child's heart and we will involve them fully in the evaluation of the system to improve this.
This project is funded by the NIHR i4i programme.
More information about this project can be found here.