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MRI Simulation of Blood Flow Helps Plan Child's Heart Surgery
Date:8/11/2009

ATLANTA and PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology, collaborating with pediatric cardiologists and surgeons at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, have developed a tool for virtual surgery that allows heart surgeons to view the predicted effects of different surgical approaches. By manipulating three-dimensional cardiac magnetic resonance images of a patient's specific anatomy, physicians can compare how alternative approaches affect blood flow and expected outcomes, and can select the best approach for each patient before entering the operating room.

"This tool helps us to get the best result for each patient," said co-author Mark A. Fogel, M.D., an associate professor of cardiology and radiology, and director of Cardiac MRI at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "The team can assess the different surgical options to achieve the best blood flow and the optimum mixture of blood, so we can maximize the heart's energy efficiency."

In the August issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Cardiovascular Imaging, the researchers describe the surgical planning methodology, detailing how the tool helped them to plan the surgery of a four-year-old girl who was born with just one functional ventricle, or pumping chamber, instead of two.

Two in every 1,000 babies in the United States are born with this type of single ventricle heart defect. These children typically suffer from low levels of oxygen in their tissues because their oxygen-rich and oxygen-poor blood mix in their one functional ventricle before being redistributed to their lungs and body.

To correct this, the children undergo a series of three open-heart surgeries -- called the staged Fontan reconstruction -- to reshape the circulation in a way that allows oxygen-poor blood to flow from the limbs directly to the lungs
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SOURCE The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
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