Virtual device simulation is an innovative approach that utilizes computer-generated models and advanced software to replicate the actions, interactions, and spatial placement of medical devices within the human body. With this technology at their disposal, healthcare professionals can strategize and rehearse complex medical procedures. By overlaying simulated devices such as prosthetic valves, stents, or other implants onto a patient’s medical imaging scan, healthcare professionals can view them within the specific anatomical context of each patient. This approach facilitates precision device selection, placement, and alignment decisions during preoperative planning. Device simulation contributes to safer and more successful medical interventions, reducing the likelihood of potential complications.
Figure A: Rotational view of a replacement heart valve as it is simulated with a 3D reconstruction of patient scan data.
Figure B: Replacement heart valve simulated with patient CT data.
The 3DQ Lab employs device simulation to develop solutions for Transcatheter Mitral Valve Replacement (TMVR). TMVR is a minimally invasive approach to treating mitral valve disease, a condition affecting millions globally. During this procedure, a prosthetic valve is inserted through a catheter, typically placed in a vessel near the groin, eliminating the need for open-heart surgery.
The mitral valve’s complex structure includes variations in anatomy that notably impact the choice of prosthetic valves and deployment techniques. Through the use of 3D imaging, healthcare professionals can perform a comprehensive assessment of the patient’s mitral valve and surrounding anatomy, aiding in the selection of the most appropriate device. This technology allows for the simulation of various valve types within the patient’s heart, leading to optimal sizing and device selection.
The 3DQ Lab is capable of simulating additional medical devices upon request. Two illustrative examples are provided below:
Simulating stents with 3D imaging in interventional cardiology and vascular medicine offers several advantages. It enables precise preoperative planning by creating patient-specific 3D models of affected blood vessels, optimizing stent size and positioning. Additionally, 3D simulations aid in selecting the most suitable stent type and size, tailored to the patient’s condition, and help predict potential complications, enhancing the procedure’s safety and success rates.
Figure C: A stent simulated with a 3D reconstruction of patient’s CT scan.
The Fontan procedure, used for complex congenital heart defects with a single functional ventricle, can also benefit from simulation. Device simulation enables the evaluation of different Fontan device options and their interaction with the patient’s anatomy, aiding in optimal device selection and placement. Additionally, 3D models support patient and family education by providing a visual understanding of the procedure, promoting informed decisions and reducing anxiety.
Figure D: A custom Fontan device overlayed on patient CT data for sizing and positioning.
3D imaging and simulation offer versatile applications beyond those described above. These technologies can be used to simulate devices such as orthopedic implants, dental implants, cochlear implants, pacemakers, spinal hardware, aneurysm coils, prosthetic limbs, catheters, dialysis access devices, and gastrointestinal stents. Through 3D imaging and device simulation, clinicians can enhance precision and planning for each device’s placement, improving patient outcomes and safety across a wide spectrum of medical specialties.