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Google Glass used to treat blocked heart artery

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London :In a first, doctors have used the eye-wearable device Google Glass to successfully restore the blood flow of a chronically blocked right coronary artery in a 49-year-old patient.

Virtual reality (VR) has potential to revolutionise some aspects of medicine and healthcare, researchers said.

A group of cardiologists has now successfully used a VR device to guide the opening up (revascularisation) of a chronically blocked right coronary artery.

Chronic total occlusion, a complete blockage of the coronary artery, sometimes referred to as the “final frontier in interventional cardiology,” represents a major challenge for catheter-based percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).

Coronary computed tomography angiography (CTA) is increasingly used to provide physicians with guidance when performing PCI in lesions.

The occluded coronary segment and the distal vessel territory are often more clearly depicted using coronary CTA than in invasive angiography.

The procedure itself can be facilitated by projection of 3D CTA data sets on separate monitors in the catheterisation laboratory, but this technique is constrained by economic and technical factors.

Cardiologists from the Institute of Cardiology in Poland were able to successfully restore blood flow in the occluded right coronary artery of a 49-year-old male patient assisted by CTA projections in a wearable VR device based on Google Glass, with an optical head-mounted display.

The display of 3D computed tomographic reconstructions in a mobile application equipped with a hands-free voice recognition system and a zoom function, enabled the physician-operators to clearly visualise the distal coronary vessel and verify the direction of the guide wire advancement relative to the course of the blocked vessel segment.

The procedure was completed successfully with implantation of two drug-eluting stents.

“This case demonstrates the novel application of wearable devices for display of CTA data sets in the catheterisation laboratory that can be used for better planning and guidance of interventional procedures, and provides proof of concept that wearable devices can improve operator comfort and procedure efficiency in interventional cardiology,” said lead investigator Maksymilian P Opolski, from the Institute of Cardiology.

The device used, Google Glass, consists of a wearable, hands-free computer with an optical head-mounted display worn by cardiologists in the catheterisation laboratory.

The optical head-mounted display can display and capture images and videos while interacting with the surrounding environment.

This display is an example of the concept of VR in which the user is supplemented with additional information generated by the device.

The research was published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology.

PTI