Augmented reality has been used in cardiac surgery for the first time

Successfully restoring blood flow in a heart

Heart surgeons in Poland have completed the first operation that used augmented reality technology to give doctors more information on their patient.

The operation, performed on a 49-year-old man, managed to unclog an artery that had been completely blocked. Complete blockages of this type are usually pretty tricky to deal with, and are sometimes called "final frontier in interventional cardiology".

To assist them, the surgeons used a wearable device based on Google Glass that had an optical head-mounted display and voice recognition system. It showed a three-dimensional computed recreation of the body part they were working on. With the help of the device, the procedure was completed successfully.

Great Potential

"This case demonstrates the novel application of wearable devices," said Maksymilian Opolski, who authored a paper on the operation in the Journal of Cardiology. "It provides proof of concept that wearable devices can improve operator comfort and procedure efficiency in interventional cardiology."

He added: "We believe wearable computers have a great potential to optimize percutaneous revascularization, and thus favorably affect interventional cardiologists in their daily clinical activities."