iPad app lets patients watch angioplasties live

Thanks to technology developed in Israel, relatives will be able to view coronary catheterization on their iPads.

November 28, 2011 01:18
2 minute read.
Doctors explain procedure with iPad

iPad angioplasty app 311. (photo credit: Rabin Medical Center)


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From now on, family members anxious about a patient undergoing a coronary catheterization or angioplasty with the insertion of a stent do not have to wait until the procedure is over to find out how it went.

Thanks to technology developed at the Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Campus, the relatives – and even the alert patient in the operating theater – will be able to view the whole process on their iPad screens.

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Prof. Ran Kornowsky, director of the catheterization institute at the Petah Tikva hospital, announced on Sunday night that patients and their relatives could now view the minimally invasive cardiac procedure in real time.

In catheterization, a tiny catheter is threaded into the heart via a small incision in the groin or in the arm. Once it reaches its destination, the catheter is followed through the heart vessels to diagnose heart disease, or used with a “balloon” that expands the clogged vessels and, if necessary, leaves a mesh stent to hold the vessel open and ensure proper blood flow.

The application, jointly developed by the Rabin Medical Center and the McKesson company, enables one to view the whole procedure and medical data at high resolution on one’s Apple iPad.

“This is the beginning of a new medical era,” said Kornowsky, who initiated the project. “Instead of [doctors] explaining to the patient and his family what catheterization is and telling them [after the procedure] what was done, they can now see it for themselves on their iPads in a totally visual, clear and professional manner. This is a different kind of experience that enables the performance of medicine at eye level.”

Continued the interventional cardiologist, “I believe that this development will be followed by additional applications in the world of imaging – X ray, MRI and CT. The dialogue with the patient changes and turns more practical. There is no more need for using descriptions and drawings, and the patient can delve into the ‘what’ instead of the ‘how.’” With the new program, the data from the catheterization is collected from the beginning, when the incision is made. The application then follows the measurement of pressure in the heart, the injection of the contrast material and the sampling of blood vessel tissue, through to the widening of the coronary arteries via the balloon and the insertion of stents. The patient, said Kornowsky, will be able to get information on what he is experiencing without even getting out of bed.

Not only will the new iPad arrangement benefit the patient and his or her family, but it will also make it possible for the medical staff to consult with medical departments anywhere and at all times, and perform measurements and testing directly on the device. This will improve treatment and make it more efficient, Kornowsky said.

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