Nicklaus Children's Innovates with Latest Immersive Technology to Support Planning of Congenital Heart Procedures and Medical Education

Published on: 04/08/2021

Nicklaus Children’s Hospital is taking a lead globally in using the latest immersive technology to advance surgical care planning, and patient education. The hospital’s Cardiovascular Surgery Advanced Projects Laboratory (APL) is now using emerging mixed reality technology to support planning of complex congenital heart procedures and help patient families visualize how the surgical team will conduct repairs. The technology is also being used to support clinical classroom learning in association with medical education partners.

The work is under the leadership of Dr. Robert L. Hannan, who heads the CSAP lab; Dr. Redmond P. Burke, Director of the Division of Cardiovascular Surgery; and Dr. David Seo, Chief Information Officer at Nicklaus Children’s.

Collaborating in the initiative is ApoQlar, maker of VSI Holomedicine, which displays patient MRI, CT, angio CT, PET and SPECT-CT and other medical scanned images as 3D holograms in real space using the Microsoft HoloLens2 mixed-reality glasses. A second collaborator is Stratasys, maker of the J750 Digital Anatomy™ Printer, which has the capability to print 3D replicas of patient hearts and other anatomy with similar biomechanical properties including soft-tissues, cartilage, muscle and bone structures.

Nicklaus is among the first to utilize the ApoQlar VSI Holomedicine solution in North America and maintains a leadership position in innovating use of emerging medical technologies such as 3D printing.

“The synergy of these combined technologies is being used daily by the hospital’s cardiovascular surgery team and is fully integrated into the routine workflow for preoperative planning, patient and family education and professional education, demonstrating the power of mixed reality,” said Dr. Hannan.

“This suite of tools is a technological dream team for planning complex surgeries,” said Dr. Burke. “We can view and explore the patient’s specific anatomy in real-time through the combined use of Microsoft Hololens 2 and ApoQlar VSI Holomedicine platform, and quite literally hold an exact replica of a patient’s heart in our hands with the new 3D printing technology. Some of the babies for whom we provide care have hearts the size of grapes, so the opportunity to truly visualize the specific anatomy is invaluable. In addition, we can actually cut and sew the printed hearts as part of our presurgical preparation, which is a tremendous advancement,” he said.

About ApoQlar

ApoQlar, based in Hamburg, Germany, is a leader in the field of augmented reality in medicine. Its Virtual Surgery Intelligence (VSI) software visualizes medical images, including MRI and CT scans in 3D, improving accuracy and accessibility. Besides uses for physicians, ApoQlar’s Holomedicine technology is also useful in educating students and patients. All anatomical details and structures are displayed in 3D, and users can rotate, cut and dive into the visualizations.

About Stratasys

Stratasys (NASDAQ: SSYS) is leading the global shift to additive manufacturing with innovative 3D printing solutions for industries such as aerospace, automotive, consumer products and healthcare. Through smart and connected 3D printers, polymer materials, a software ecosystem, and parts on demand, Stratasys solutions deliver competitive advantages at every stage in the product value chain. The world’s leading organizations turn to Stratasys to transform product design, bring agility to manufacturing and supply chains, and improve patient care.

About Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, Where Children Matter Most (2024)

Founded in 1950 by Variety Clubs International, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital is South Florida’s only licensed specialty hospital exclusively for children, with approximately 850 attending physicians, including more than 500 pediatric subspecialists. The 307-bed hospital, known as Miami Children’s Hospital from 1983 through 2014, is renowned for excellence in all aspects of pediatric medicine with many specialty programs routinely ranked among the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report since 2008. The hospital is also home to the largest pediatric teaching program in the southeastern United States and since 2003 has been designated an American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Magnet facility, the nursing profession’s most prestigious institutional honor. For more information, please visit

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