TIME Innovation

See How Surgeons Can Mend a Broken Heart Using 3D Body Scans

“It’s like opening the chest and seeing the heart beating”

GE Healthcare has released new footage from its three dimensional body scanners, marking its latest attempt to tap into the $32 billion heart failure market and potentially spare patients from invasive surgical procedures.

The software, dubbed cSound, processes a geyser of image data from an ultrasound, wolfing down the information equivalent of one DVD every second.

The real innovation, however, is not the number of pixels the software can lap up, but the pixels it carefully selects to put on display. Image scrubbing algorithms work over the picture like an automated airbrush, making shadows deeper, contours crisper and generally presenting a picture that’s easier on doctors’ eyes.

“It’s like opening the chest and seeing the heart beating” said Bijoy Khandheria, a cardiologist at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center, which is the first hospital to use the technology on patients.

  • As a result, a cardiologist can now peer into all four chambers of a beating heart…

    This image shows all 4 chambers of a heart. The bottom two, the atria, are enlarged. A clinician uses this to assess how well the heart muscle pumps blood into the body.
  • Or rotate the view for a glimpse into two chambers from above…

    The right and main chambers as viewed from the apex of the heart. The moving structure in the center is the mitral valve and can be identified by its fish mouth shape when open
  • Or zoom in further on the flapping leaflets of the mitral valve, which controls blood flow into the left ventricle. In this image, a bulge on the lower valve indicates a risk of heart failure.

    The bulge on the lower valve indicates a failing mitral valve. With 3D views of the heart, there are several options to repair such a failure without open heart surgery

     

  • They can also view their handiwork, such as these wires visibly running through the heart.

    Mending a broken heart. Literally. Thin wires were inserted into this heart to implant an artificial valve without open heart surgery

     

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