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Israeli President in middle of group around table
Dr. Barry Rubin, (R), Medical Director of the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, discusses the use of the new technology with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, (C), UHN President & CEO, Dr. Kevin Smith, (L), and other representatives of the State of Israel delegation and members of TeamUHN. (Photo: UHN)

In the true spirit of collaboration spanning borders, oceans and languages, people from Canada and Israel came together at UHN to unveil groundbreaking technology that will help to shape the future of cardiology – and possibly medicine, too.

Israel's President, Reuven Rivlin, on his first visit to Canada since assuming office in July 2014, unveiled true holographic imaging technology together with staff at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre (PMCC).

"It's an honour and pleasure [to be here]; a mutual one," said President Rivlin, who spent close to an hour at Toronto General Hospital on Tuesday learning about the technology, developed in Israel by the start-up company, RealView Imaging.

Cardiologists and cardiac surgeons at PMCC are the first in the world to use true holographic imaging in real time during a medical procedure. This technology allows doctors to see inside the heart without making an incision, and allows physicians to treat heart disease with confidence and accuracy.

Here's how it works: the hologram appears as a life size, 3-D image of the heart at close range, floating in space above the patient, and allows the operating physician to explore, rotate and slice the hologram of the heart, in real time, during the procedure.

The first procedure at PMCC which used the holographic imaging system was a valve-in-valve mitral valve procedure, a minimally invasive procedure that replaced a worn-out surgical valve in a patient who was too sick for standard, open surgery. Instead of removing the old diseased valve, the procedure replaces the valve without making an incision in the chest.

Dr. Lifshiz looking through system as others look on
Dr. Yitshak Lifshiz of the Israeli delegation examines the holographic imaging system while President Reuven Rivlin, (L), and Dr Barry Rubin look on. (Photo: UHN)

PMCC is using holograms for other cardiac procedures, such as repairing leaking valves and closing holes in the heart.

The journey to get the holographic system to PMCC began six years ago, when cardiologists from Toronto General travelled to Israel to see it in its beta form in Yokneam, Israel. RealView worked with PMCC physicians, Dr. Eric Horlick and Dr. Mark Osten, to bring the technology to Toronto.

Dr. Barry Rubin, Medical Director of the PMCC, said the program integrates the most advanced digital technologies to help drive outstanding patient care, teaching and research.

"This technology is an incredible asset for our heart team, which manages the most complex and challenging heart cases daily," said Dr. Rubin. "This is an extraordinary advance that will improve the care of patients with heart disease locally and internationally."​

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