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Video Game Technology and Surgical Expertise Meet in Groundbreaking Tool at Stanford Children’s Health to Help Parents Understand Complex Heart Repair
|By Business Wire
|September 3, 2014 02:00 PM EDT
One of the most complex birth defects of the heart—and one of the most
challenging to repair—can now be easily understood through a
groundbreaking, video-game-like graphic now available on the Stanford
Children’s Health website. It’s the first in a series called “Moving
Medicine: An Interactive 3-D Look at Conditions and Treatments.”
Parents and physicians can use the animated, three-dimensional tool to
better understand and communicate about a child’s condition and
treatment, and amateurs can try their hand at a shortened version of the
complex repair, which may take a surgical team up to 12 hours to
The interactive graphic focuses on a life-threatening congenital heart
defect called tetralogy
of Fallot with pulmonary atresia and major aortopulmonary collateral
arteries (or MAPCAs), in which patients are born missing part or all of
a major blood vessel that connects the heart to the lungs. That vessel,
called the pulmonary artery, is critical because it delivers
de-oxygenated blood from the heart to the lungs, where the blood gets a
fresh supply of oxygen. Without the pulmonary artery, the circulatory
system can’t get a normal amount of oxygen out to the body through the
Hanley, MD, executive director of the Heart
Center at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford and professor
of cardiothoracic surgery at the Stanford University School of Medicine,
provided some of the medical expertise for the interactive graphic.
Hanley has the highest known surgical success rate—above 98 percent—in
repairing the heart defect using an approach he developed called unifocalization.
Other participating Stanford Medicine experts were Stephen
Roth, MD, MPH, chief of pediatric cardiology and professor of
pediatrics at the School of Medicine, and Lynn
Peng, MD, clinical assistant professor of pediatrics and associate
director of the cardiac catheterization laboratory at Lucile Packard
Children’s Hospital Stanford. They worked with David Sarno, the
principal at Lighthaus
Inc., which specializes in interactive digital storytelling, to
demystify the complex surgery. Sarno observed Hanley and his team during
a full-length unifocalization procedure. He then guided a team of
designers, artists and game developers to create an active model of a
living, pumping heart that viewers can explore and interact with
“It turns out that the same technology the multibillion-dollar game
industry uses to conjure alien planets or historical battlefields works
beautifully for re-creating and exploring the inside of the human body,”
Sarno says. “It’s an inner world that’s still mysterious to many of us,
and we hope that illuminating it will help families better understand
life-changing medical procedures.”
The interactive graphic takes users through three chapters: the healthy
heart, the defect and the repair, and is narrated by Hanley, Roth and
Peng. At any time, users can click on the graphic for glossary
descriptions of the heart, or drag and swivel the graphic 360 degrees to
see every aspect of the heart and blood vessels.
“Even today, at hospitals across the United States, parents are given
the heartbreaking news that their child has this birth defect and may
not survive,” says Hanley. “We hope that this interactive tool on our
website will give physicians and families everywhere a better, clearer
understanding of the defect, and a tool for discussing what’s required
to fix it—and also the comfort that comes from knowing that in most
cases it absolutely can be fixed, and that their child can go on to live
a fulfilling life.”
Since 2001, Hanley and team have performed more than 530 unifocalization
procedures at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, with patients
traveling from 38 U.S. states and eight foreign countries. The new
interactive animation will be a regular part of each patient-family’s
orientation prior to them coming to the hospital for the procedure.
“As a Silicon Valley hospital, we are fortunate to have forward-thinking
innovators working in our hospital and also right down the street,” says
Christopher Dawes, president and CEO of Lucile Packard Children’s
Hospital. “We’re always collaborating to see how we might apply medical
and technical advances not only to treatments for the riskiest diseases,
but also to helping families, physicians and the public understand these
diseases and how we uniquely care for them.”
Discover more about our Heart
Center or call (800) 721-5470.
About Stanford Children’s Health and Lucile Packard Children’s
Stanford Children’s Health, with Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital
Stanford at its core, is an internationally recognized leader in
world-class, nurturing care and extraordinary outcomes in every
pediatric and obstetric specialty from the routine to rare, for every
child and pregnant woman. Together with our Stanford
Medicine physicians, nurses, and staff, we deliver this innovative
care and research through partnerships, collaborations, outreach,
specialty clinics and primary care practices at more than 100 locations
in the U.S. western region. As a non-profit, we are committed to
supporting our community – from caring for uninsured or underinsured
kids, homeless teens and pregnant moms, to helping re-establish school
nurse positions in local schools. Learn more about our full range of
preeminent programs and network of care at stanfordchildrens.org,
and on our Healthier,
Happy Lives blog. Join us on Facebook,
Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford is the heart of
Stanford Children’s Health, and is one of the nation’s top hospitals for
the care of children and expectant mothers. For a decade, we have
received the highest specialty rankings of any Northern California
children’s hospital, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2014-15 Best
Children’s Hospitals survey, and are the only hospital in Northern
California to receive the national 2013 Leapfrog Group Top
Children’s Hospital award for quality and patient care safety.
Discover more at stanfordchildrens.org.
Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/multimedia/home/20140903005204/en/
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