Letter from the Editor

A Virtual Cath Lab Viewer (VCL):The Development of an Online 3D C-arm Simulator and Coronary Anatomy Viewer

Shawn Larson, DCR(R), MSc Vycaria, Great Edstone, United Kingdom
Shawn Larson, DCR(R), MSc Vycaria, Great Edstone, United Kingdom
By combining a realistic environment for fluoroscopy with a radiological/ cross-sectional anatomical reference tool, Vycaria's virtual cath lab viewer (VCL) may help to: Increase the efficiency and safety of diagnostic and interventional procedures. Reduce the radiation dose to both staff and patients. Increase lab throughput. VCL Fluoroscopy and MRI VCLs are computer-based fluoroscopy simulators and anatomical viewers. They use a real-time, interactive, 3D games-rendering engine (similar to Playstation and Xbox) to deliver a PC-based virtual catheterization laboratory fluoroscopy simulation environment. This environment enables visualization and interaction between computer-generated anatomical models and fluoroscopic equipment models to realistically replicate the movement and visualisation physics of a real image intensifier with a patient on the table. Within the VCL, the table movements, bi-plane c-arm angulations and corresponding display of radiological anatomy on frontal and lateral monitors are a completely accurate representation of what you would expect to see if you were to practice screening in a real catheterization laboratory using a set of phantom anatomical models. To aid correlation between fluoroscopic and cross-sectional anatomy, MRI mode has been incorporated into the bi-plane VCL. This enables instant switching between fluoroscopic anatomical visualization and cross-sectional anatomical visualization, using the c-arms as mini-MRI scanners. The cross-section thickness can be user-defined, and both frontal and lateral scan-planes can be adjusted while simultaneously allowing free range of movement of the c-arms and table. The Future: We need your help Vycaria seeks to help cardiologists, radiographers, generic workers and anyone else responsible for controlling fluoroscopic equipment during radiological procedures to work as efficiently as possible. However, we also believe that the best way to carry our products forward is to ask the users of our products what they think about them what they like, dislike, want to see added or taken away, etc. To this end, we hope to encourage an active user community to help us further develop our VCLs, so that our users take a lead in their development. Since Vycaria's VCLs are essentially fluoroscopy simulators, we are theoretically able to use them to simulate any radiological procedure. At the moment, we are currently working on simulating barium meals, barium enemas and nephrostomies. We are also prototyping a plain film radiography simulator. Please visit our websites for more details and a free download: http://vycaria.co.uk/ Shawn Larson, DCR(R), MSc, spent 18 years as a diagnostic radiographer across 6 London teaching hospitals, including 12 years in 5 different cath labs (part time). Following his MSc in Medical Informatics, he worked freelance developing interactive 3-dimensional virtual environments for a variety of clients before moving into RIS/PACS applications, then on to product management. He currently works for the National Health Service (NHS) as PACS Implementation Advisor for the northeast of England. He can be contacted at shawn@vycaria.co.uk.
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