Predicting Surgical Outcomes

August 20, 2009
Jill taylor

Georgia Tech has been working on an interactive surgical planner that analyzes MRI scans to simulate potential surgical options in pediatric cardiac patients.

The average age of video game players is reported at 35 years. Who knew?

I was looking for more information regarding adverse events associated with HPV vaccine when I ran across an editorial in the current issue of JAMA lamenting the Merck’s marketing tactics for Gardasil. One of their points is that unbalanced educational programs regarding the vaccine—funded by grants from Merck–were being provided by professional associations; with all due respect to the authors, everyone knows that’s nothing new. The pharmaceutical industry is largely responsible for CME programs that are delivered to medical professionals online and at conferences, and even many peer-reviewed journal articles (yeah, that’s right–I went there. Again.).

The authors also complain that cervical cancer, not the HPV virus, is the target of the marketing campaign. Well, remember the fervor raised by some conservative groups regarding the vaccination of adolescents against a sexually transmitted disease? Perhaps I’m jaded, but I don’t understand how this outcome wouldn’t be anticipated in today’s healthcare environment.

On a fun note, here’s something that’s been developed right in my back yard at Georgia Tech—an interactive surgical planner that analyzes MRI scans to simulate potential surgical options in pediatric cardiac patients. The JACC Cardiovascular Imaging journal has published a study that details the staged Fontan reconstruction in a 4-year-old girl using the technology. The 3-D imagery isn’t what amazes me; I’m fascinated with the idea that the tool predicts outcomes of the approaches developed for each patient. You can watch a short video of the tool in action on the Georgia Tech website.