3D modeling system for easily displaying complex congenital heart conditions
Researchers have developed a system that can show in 3D the complicated heart structures of babies with congenital heart conditions. The pictures are easy to understand, and can be rendered quickly.
"Babies can't be put in 3D scanners like MRI or CT at first. So, we use echo imaging. Echo images have low quality, which makes it hard to produce 3D pictures from them automatically. So, a specialist physician does some of the work manually, while looking at the echo images, and uses a template 3D model. The template is gradually changed into a model of the baby. The concept here is that, by repeating this kind of process, a picture can be produced in about 5 minutes."
"Of course, a specialist can imagine a 3D picture just by looking at an echo image. But until now, there wasn't any way for specialists to show their conceptions to other people. The problem was, physicians couldn't tell other healthcare staff, or the baby's parents, what image they had in their head. But using this system, specialists can quickly show other people what they're thinking."
"Here, we're rendering a heart in 3D, but not with a mesh model, as is normally used. The data structure we use is skeletal, or spherical coordinates, so the data is suitable for rendering blood vessels and organs. We think such methods may be good for modeling other organs and aspects of the human body."
"We aim to actually use this system in clinical practice. So, we intend to accumulate data on all kinds of conditions. Then, this system could be linked to digital medical records, so data could be called up on demand. Also, because 3D records would be left, they could be used in education. So, we're moving ahead with development, keeping those aims in mind."