Modelling transoesophageal echo

Susan Wright


Background: Achieving competence in transoesophageal echocardiography (TOE) requires a clear understanding of cardiac anatomy as well as an ability to correlate two-dimensional (2D) echocardiographic images with the three-dimensional (3D) structures which they represent. Training in the technique is a long process, which may also be hampered by insufficient access to teaching in the clinical environment. These challenges would be met by a simulator which demonstrates detailed cardiac anatomy with a previously unavailable degree of accuracy.

Methods: A TOE simulator system was created by collaboration with a wide range of clinical specialists and a post-production company skilled in the generation of computer graphics and special effects for the film industry. The core of the system is an animated, accurate and detailed virtual heart. Echocardiographic simulation was developed to provide a real-time display of ultrasound images alongside the 3D anatomical correlate of the imaging plane.

Results: A freely interactive animated model of the heart was created as the basis for ultrasound simulation. Creation of a mannequin simulator which drives the software allowed reproduction of the practical experience of the TOE procedure.

Conclusions: Partnership with groups with a wide diversity of skills can result in a simulator teaching tool of high fidelity. 

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Copyright (c) 2016 Susan Wright

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