3D Technology Transforms Lives Through Cardiovascular Science Breakthroughs
The heart is our most vital and complex organ. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, it beats roughly 100,000 time per day, 30 million times per year and 2.5 billion times in the average lifetime, pumping 7,000 liters of blood per day, 2.5 million per year and 200 million in the average lifetime. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, claiming the lives of over 600,000 men and women each year. The Living Heart Project uses Dassault Systèmes technology to realistically simulate the function of the human heart, ultimately translating research discoveries into proven, real-world treatments to medicine’s biggest challenges, including cardiovascular disease.
It can be difficult and expensive — not to mention, invasive — to see and understand what’s going on inside a patient’s heart. Oftentimes, there are indicators of an underlying condition, but no direct analysis of that problem. The Living Heart Project has the potential to changes this aspect of medical care. This project, which brought together individuals from over 50 participating organizations that span academia, medical research, clinical practice and regulatory bodies to model the cardiovascular system using computational tools, helps cardiologists tackle one of their biggest challenges: understanding each individual patient’s condition, and customizing care.
Immersive 3D environments were created to show two scenarios with real-world applications. The first is a virtual operating room that simulates what a surgeon might see during a surgery. The second scenario is a simulation of the inside of the heart itself. The Living Heart model is distinguishable from previous simulations because it is so realistic, complete with four chambers, valves, papillary muscles, blood vessels and surrounding chest muscles. These models can then be personalized to understand individual patients. A surgeon can, for instance, study what they will see before entering the operating room. Alternatively, a model might help a cardiologist predict how a patient’s condition will progress, test treatments in a non-invasive manner and optimize patient care.
Another application of the project is improving pacemaker lead durability. Medical devices such as pacemakers can be inserted into models to analyze how they will function. As Dr. Steve Levine, chief strategy officer at Dassault Systèmes explained, getting that close to how something works allows you to understand its behavior.
The Living Heart Project is a model for others to aspire to; the hope is that one day the entire body will be simulated three dimensionally. After all, computational modeling and lifelike reconstructions can help doctors in all areas of medicine with diagnosis and treatment. While clinicians once had to rely on static images like X-rays to provide care, 3D technology is ensuring that the future of medicine is right around the corner.
For more information on the Living Heart Project, visit the Dassault website: http://www.3ds/heart.