"These really are pioneering times", stated Michael Freiborg, product development manager, Medtronic Cardiac Rhythm Disease Management. "Medtronic is continually developing new and improved products that help enrich the lives of patients, and with new products comes new surgical procedures and skill levels for the implanting physician. It's preferable when a physician or fellow can practise on Immersion Medical's surgical simulator because it allows them to become familiar with navigating the tools within a virtual heart. Practising on the simulator helps them achieve a skill level that is needed before entering into real-life scenarios. Each case will be different, but the CathLabVR system's haptic feedback offers an actual feeling of what happens during the medical procedure."
As medical therapies and procedures become more sophisticated, medical simulators must advance to keep pace. As an example, a Medtronic minimally invasive therapy for arrhythmia requires the use of four tools simultaneously. The CathLabVR virtual reality education system provides this capability, as well as a new feature called SmartCapture tool recognition that automatically identifies the tools in use and functions more like the real catheterization lab environment.
"Immersion Medical's CathLabVR system helps us train implanting physicians on procedures ranging from a pacemaker lead implant to the steps required for more complex cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT)", continued Michael Freiborg. "The CRT procedure requires the use of cannulation and subselection catheters, guide wires, balloon inflation, contrast injections, and pacing lead placement. I don't believe there is another surgical simulator manufactured today that has this advanced capability."
In addition to coronary treatments, physicians use endovascular procedures to treat several other diseases. Peripheral arterial disease, referring to diseases of blood vessels outside the heart and brain, affects 8-12 million Americans. (American Heart Association, Peripheral Artery Disease) The longer carriage length of Immersion Medical's new CathLabVR system increases training capabilities by supporting additional surgical simulations, for example, deployment of carotid interventions.
"The field of medicine is constantly innovating, particularly in the area of endovascular interventions", stated Mark Meents, vice president, sales and marketing, at Immersion Medical. "We believe we are uniquely qualified to support the industry with a virtual reality surgical simulation training platform for deployment of endovascular therapies from head to lower limb."
Immersion Medical Inc. designs, manufactures, and markets computer-based virtual reality medical simulation training systems worldwide. The systems integrate proprietary computer software and tactile feedback robotics to create highly realistic medical and surgical procedure simulations that help train clinicians. The company's key product lines are the AccuTouch Endoscopy Simulator, CathLabVR system, LaparoscopyVR system, and the Virtual IV system.
Founded in 1993, Immersion Corporation is a recognized expert in developing, licensing, and marketing digital touch technology and products. Using Immersion's advanced touch feedback technology, electronic user interfaces can be made more productive, compelling, entertaining, or safer. Immersion's technology is deployed across automotive, entertainment, industrial controls, virtual reality medical training, mobility, and three-dimensional simulation markets. Immersion's patent portfolio includes over 600 issued or pending patents in the United States and other countries. More company news is available in the VMW February 2006 article Immersion joins with PICC Excellence to promote training products and launches new Phlebotomy training module for CathSim AccuTouch System.