New Tech Lets Doctors See Patients' Hearts in 3D

With the technology, surgeons can see a live, 3D hologram directly above the patient's chest.

Michael Calhoun
February 14, 2018 - 10:33 am

Credit: BioSTL


ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Holographic surgeries could come to an operating room near you, thanks to a breakthrough from a St. Louis start-up that's now being lauded by the best scientists in the world.   

Husband and wife Dr. Jonathan Silva and Dr. Jennifer Silva both work at Washington University and both for start-up SentiAR. Their technology lets surgeons pull up real-time holographic images of a patient's heart mid-procedure.   

Jennifer is a pediatric cardiologist.

"What I deal with are children who have abnormal heart rhythm, and one of the ways we take care of kids with abnormal heart rhythms is through these minimally invasive procedures where we use these tiny catheters and thread them through the vessel and display that on screen. We've got to mentally recreate the 3D geometry of kids' hearts, and that's kind of hard to do," she says.

With the technology, surgeons can see a live, 3D hologram directly above the patient's chest.

Credit: BioSTL

"During the procedure they can place the ... hologram of the patient's heart right over the patient, and then they can look at that and in that hologram they can see where their catheters are, so they can use that to figure out how they're moving around the heart, and to really intricately understand the patient's anatomy and their heart rhythm abnormality," Silva says. 

Sensors placed inside the body send this data back, and doctors see the hologram by wearing Microsoft hololens glasses.

SentiAR's tech was just recognized by the National Institutes for Health with a $2.2 million grant to get the platform through clinical trials and the FDA. 

Jonathan remembers seeing this hologram technology for the first time and calling his wife with the idea.

"We both work really hard and we both really like what we do, and this is a project where we get to work really hard together," he says.

Last year, SentiAR closed on $1.1 million in investment from St. Louis firms BioGenerator and Cultivation Capital. BioGenerator was actually there from the beginning with an initial $48,000 grant to help the founders prove their technology.