ST. CLOUD --Technology mainly seen in movies, is now being used inside CentraCare.

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Back in May, CentraCare became the first organization in the world to use 4D hologram technology to implant Watchman devices.

The 4D hologram technology was created by EchoPixel and allows doctors to interact with a patient's organs and tissue on screen during the procedure.

Dr. Jacob Dutcher is the director of the structural heart program at CentraCare Heart & Vascular Center. He says this new technology works similar to watching a 3D movie.

This of that moment when things are flying at you in a 3D movie. That's kind of what this 4D hologram is like. I have the ability of taking that object on the screen and pulling it out of the screen toward my eye and see deep inside a patients heart and see stuff you can't see with other technology.

Dutcher says they use the 4D imaging to implant Watchman devices, a device placed in the heart to help reduce stroke in people with atrial fibrillation. Approximately six million people in the U.S. suffer from atrial fibrillation and many of them are intolerant to blood thinners.

Dutcher says there is a lot of benefits to this technology for the patient.

Currently we use contrast dye to light up the heart to see it, and the dye can be toxic to the kidney's especially with patients who have kidney disease. So there have been some patients who have not been referred or turned down for a Watchman procedure because of their poor kidney function. This gives us an alternative to provide their procedure.

He says not only has the technology cut down on procedure times by more than 27 percent, but many times patients are able to go home the same day. It also limits staff's potential exposure to radiation from x-rays.

Dutcher says they are always looking for new ways to advance and improve patient care, and are proud to be the first center to offer this imaging technology.

To date, CentraCare has performed 8 Watchmen procedures using 4D Hologram technology.


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