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Technology Predicts Outcome of Child Heart Surgery

tients,” said Mark Fogel, M.D., director of cardiac MR in the Cardiac Center at Children’s Hospital and a key collaborator on the project.

The Georgia Tech/Emory team began work on a system to help surgeons address the unique challenges of Fontan repair. In essence, the system determines how any geometric change in the current heart configuration will change blood flow and strength.

To perfect their system, researchers combined computational and experimental studies to create a method of assessing an optimum vessel configuration. The group worked heavily with fluid dynamic studies in the lab to get the most accurate simulation of blood flow.

Another tool, developed by a team led by Jaroslaw Rossignac Ph.D. in Georgia Tech’s College of Computing, is a program that allows for manipulation of a 3-D model of a patient’s cardiovascular system to try out different configurations with a mouse. Once the surgeon has the desired configuration, the new vascular configuration can then be tested with the Image-based surgical planning system to see how well the new surgical procedure would perform.

Georgia Tech and Emory completed the engineering aspects of the study with assistance from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The MRI and patient studies were gathered at CHOP and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s Sibley Heart Center.

While the patient MRI database is currently only accessible to project participants, researchers are working with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which funded the project, to open the database to other pediatric cardiologists and cardiac surgeons.

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