TCT.14: Google Glass debuts in the cath lab

WASHINGTON. D.C.—Google Glass one day could become an interventional cardiologist’s new best friend, based on a demonstration Sept. 15 at the Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics scientific session that showed how the technology was used during a transradial PCI.

Jordan Safirstein, MD, assistant director of the cardiac catheterization laboratory in Morristown, N.J., listed the numerous ways the hands-free voice-activated, wearable Glass could facilitate a STEMI case.

“You are driving home and you get a text message,” he proposed. “If you were wearing Glass, it could come up just like that. You look up into your Glass and there is a STEMI alert. ‘Glass, activate STEMI.’ ST elevation looks real.”

Glass might provide critical information about the patient, such as vital signs and lab results. It might take images. Conceivably, Glass could perform calculations, suggest stent sizes, image, provide hemodynamic assessment and calculate left ventricular ejection fraction. “And maybe even generate a report at the end of the case,” Safirstein suggested.  

Beyond the theoretical, Safirstein showed how Glass already is assisting in the cath lab. He provided video of a transradial PCI taken with Glass that he created for educational purposes. Previously, the program depended on audio-visual services, which accounted for much of the cost. With Glass, he now can transmit live cases for free.

“You can watch me perform the case with first-person, excellent clarity,” he said as video of a case rolled. “There is no microphone, other than the one connected to Glass. There is no special camera. This is all done via Glass.”

But Glass has its drawbacks, he continued, including technical limitations. It relies on wi-fi, which raises concerns about patient privacy. It currently depends on third-party software. “Any dedicated medical app is done by someone other than Google,” he said.

The clinical benefit of Glass has yet to be shown, and Safirstein admitted it was “not ready for prime time yet, but I definitely think wearables will be in our future both for physicians and for patients.”