University of Ottawa Engineering and Heart Institute Collaboration leads to Advanced Heart Diagnostic Software

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Dr. Michel Labrosse, an associate professor in the University of Ottawa’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, has developed a software program that shows promise in improving the diagnosis and treatment of patients with heart disease affecting Aortic Valves. This technology is a direct result Dr. Labrosse working in collaboration with Dr. Munir Boodhwani, a cardiac surgeon, and Dr. Benjamin Sohmer, an anaesthesiologist and echocardiographer, both from the world renowned University of Ottawa Heart Institute. This new software package works with existing ultrasound diagnostics equipment, and enables a surgeon to provide patients with the optimal intervention for the situation. 

 Typically, a heart patient is assessed by ultrasound in advance of surgery. It does a great job in demonstrating the need for surgery, but lacks advanced analytical capabilities relating to the aortic valve. As a result, the treatment of diseased aortic valve’s are heavily weighted by the surgeon’s immediate assessment of an aortic valve’s condition during heart surgery. This limits a surgeon’s options as it provides little time for detailed analysis, and no possibility to talk to the patient. Consequently, the safest and most common intervention is complete replacement of the aortic valve, even when there might be potential for repairing the existing valve.

 By working together, this team of engineers and clinicians have developed a simulation tool that can help surgeons make more patient-centered decisions regarding treatment options for aortic valve patients that suffer from common heart conditions such as aortic insufficiency or bicuspid aortic valve. Simply named AVQ and AVSim, this software package is designed to give a more complete picture of the heart prior to surgery using the data already collected by ultrasound examinations. It enables a comprehensive analysis of various treatment options, ensuring the patient gets the surgery that is carefully optimized for the situation. The software package gives surgeons and patients a more comprehensive view of the aortic valve’s pre operative condition, thus giving support for analyzing and discussing all treatment options, and may result in more minimally invasive cardiac surgeries.

The OTTN is helping Dr. Labrosse and his colleagues find an industry partner that can further develop AVQ and AVSim for use in hospitals around the world. This technology demonstrates the exceptional potential of university research for society when you bring key engineering talent to clinical specialists under the same organization to solve real world problems. Furthermore, it provides industry partners with opportunities to work with creative engineering professors and students who introduce new and innovative ways to deal with real world problems, as well as with clinical staff who represent the ultimate end users of the medical devices.

 For more information about the AVQ and AVSim software, please visit our information page on the AUTM Global Technology Portal.

Professor Labrosse’s research website, including publications can be found at https://sites.google.com/site/cardiovascularmechanicslab/

 Information about the University of Ottawa Heart Institute can be found at http://www.ottawaheart.ca/

 Information about the University of Ottawa can be found at http://www.uottawa.ca/about.html

About Ottawa Technology Transfer Network
The Ottawa Technology Transfer Network (OTTN) is a collaboration among academic research institutions affiliated with the University of Ottawa and who's goal is to enhance the economic impact of research commercialization through the sharing of best practices, enhanced market knowledge, student engagement and proactive industrial interation. OTTN members include the University of Ottawa, the Ottawa Hospital Research Institutie (OHRI), the Childrens' Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) and the Unviversity of Ottawa Heart Institute (UOHI)

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