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  • Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, talked Stanford Virtual Heart at Oculus 4 keynoteMark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, talked Stanford Virtual Heart at Oculus 4 keynote
  • 3D Virtual Technology3D Virtual Technology

Stanford Children’s Heart Center - Virtual Reality Program

Pediatric cardiologists at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford are developing innovative ways to use virtual reality (VR) inside the hospital’s renowned Children’s Heart Center. This new program includes three separate projects that are currently being used within the Heart Center which leverage VR technology in distinct ways. All of these technologies and programs could potentially be adopted in other areas of specialized, acute care at Packard Children’s Hospital and elsewhere.

VR technology, which is popular in the computer gaming community, is available in only a few children’s hospitals around the world. Packard Children’s is among the first to establish a comprehensive VR program dedicated to pediatric care with this level of personalization and medical specialization.

“Virtual reality is one of the most exciting technologies that we can bring to bear for improved education and improved patient experience.”Stephen Roth, MD, chief of pediatric cardiology and director of the Children’s Heart Center.

The Stanford Virtual Heart – Revolutionizing education on congenital heart defects

Stanford Virtual Heart

Pediatric cardiologists are using immersive virtual reality (VR) technology to explain complex congenital heart defects, which are some of the most difficult medical conditions to teach and understand. The Stanford Virtual Heart experience helps families understand their child’s heart conditions, and it provides medical trainees with an immersive and engaging new way to learn about the two dozen most common and complex congenital heart anomalies.

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Project Brave Heart: Studying the impact of virtual reality preparation and relaxation therapy

Stanford Virtual Heart

A new study is being conducted on using a VR program as a tool for “stress inoculation therapy,” which aims to help patients mitigate anxiety through cognitive behavioral therapy techniques, including relaxation and exposure. The study includes sending a VR headset home with patients who have a cardiac catheterization procedure scheduled so they can learn about the procedure and practice relaxation techniques. Although catheterizations are outpatient procedures, catheterization patients must undergo general anesthesia. Doctors find the experience can cause stress and anxiety for patients, especially if they’re young.

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Pioneering 3-D virtual imaging technology in the operating room

Stanford Virtual Heart

A third program uses virtual imaging technology to digitally convert computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans into 3-D images. Essentially it allows pediatric cardiac surgeons to do a virtual run-through of the surgical procedure from inside the operating room.

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