When performing minimally invasive heart procedures, physicians typically use 3D echocardiography to visualize the heart’s soft tissue and live X-ray imaging to see the catheters and implants they’re working with. The two imaging modalities provide very different perspectives of the same scene, creating a challenge when working with the heart.
Philips just announced receiving FDA approval for its EchoNavigator system that combines 3D echo with X-ray imaging into a coherent view for a more intuitive navigation within the heart. The company hopes that the system will increase the ease of performing difficult procedures and in turn lead to better outcomes for the patients.
Working in collaboration with partner hospitals in Europe and the US, Philips designed EchoNavigator to address the unique challenges associated with working with live X-ray and 3D ultrasound images simultaneously. Accurately recognizing the heart structures from these medical images takes years of training and experience, and the use and interpretation of both imaging techniques during the procedures can be challenging, especially when manipulating and steering the catheters that carry the implants. Moreover, the communication during the critical moment of the procedure between the interventional cardiologist or surgeon steering the catheters, and the echocardiographer operating the 3D ultrasound equipment, has been identified as particularly demanding.
Philips’ EchoNavigator will enable clinicians to perform procedures more efficiently by providing intelligently integrated X-ray and 3D ultrasound images into one intuitive and interactive view, as well as providing easy-to-use system navigation and better communication between the multidisciplinary team carrying out the procedure.
Here are a couple videos giving an overview of the EchoNavigator: