Cardiologist creates first TEE simulator using real patient images

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A cardiologist at the University of Washington has created a simulator using real patient images to teach transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) to cardiology fellows and anesthesiology residents.

According to an article published by the UW School of Medicine, it is the first TEE simulator in the world to use images of patients’ hearts rather than drawings.

“Real patient images are important because if you only look at an artist’s rendering, you can’t appreciate everything else that an image reveals,” said Florence Sheehan, MD, who spearheaded development of the simulator. “For example, the ultrasound modality creates visual artifacts that aren’t meaningful and can be misleading. You have to learn how to distinguish those from an actual pathology.”

Users of the simulator can thread a flexible probe down a dummy patient’s esophagus until its tip is adjacent to the heart. Based on the probe’s location and orientation, the simulator shows corresponding ultrasound images from a live case.

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