UVa Cardiologists Get Lesson in Technique

By: Althea Paul
By: Althea Paul

August 4, 2005

Some University of Virginia doctors know a bit more about heart cardiology techniques. It was all thanks to a lesson on wheels. Heart surgery takes lots of patience and precision.

"It's a very complex system to put in and you don't want to hurt the patient in the process of your learning experience," said UVa cardiology fellow, Matthew Trojan.

Medtronic's mobile lab is making it possible for cardiology doctors who are still learning to get some hands-on practice.

"It gives live training, as live as we can possibly get for physicians in training on how to use our products," said Medtronic district manager, Tony Meyers.

This lab is one of four across the country that travel to hospitals and simulates the procedure of implanting a pace maker lead, an invaluable experience for cardiologists that may not have any in this type of surgery.

"They can get a feeling of how it is to manipulate these very fine instruments inside the body," said Associate Professor of Medicine at UVa, Paul Mounsey.

In the simulation doctors manipulate catheters and they can see what they're doing on screens.The images are actually of real patients hearts and are put into motion and applied to computer software to create the simulation. It's as close to the real thing as you can get.

"It really acts like it's a real patient, and it's obviously not a real patient, so it's pretty remarkable," said Trojan.

It’s a remarkable experience that may produce even more remarkable cardiologists. The Medtronic Mobile Lab has been up and running for the past several years.

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