Augmented reality and three-dimensional printing in percutaneous interventions on pulmonary arteries

Jan Witowski, Szymon Darocha, Łukasz Kownacki, Arkadiusz Pietrasik, Radosław Pietura, Marta Banaszkiewicz, Jakub Kamiński, Andrzej Biederman, Adam Torbicki, Marcin Kurzyna


Background: Percutaneous pulmonary interventions require extensive and accurate navigation planning and guidance, especially in regard to the three-dimensional (3D) relationships between anatomical structures. In this study, we are demonstrating the feasibility of novel visualization techniques: 3D printing (3DP) and augmented reality (AR) in planning transcatheter pulmonary interventions.
Methods: Two patients were qualified for balloon pulmonary angioplasty (BPA) for treatment of chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) and stent implantation for pulmonary artery stenosis, respectively. Computed tomography images of both patients were processed with segmentation algorithms and subsequently submitted to 3D modelling software. Microsoft HoloLens® AR headsets with dedicated CarnaLife Holo® software were utilized to display surface and volume rendering of pulmonary vessels as holograms.
Results: Personalized life-sized models of the same structures were additionally 3D-printed for preoperative planning. Holograms were shown to physicians throughout the procedure and were used as a guidance and navigation tool. Operative team was able to manipulate the hologram and multiple users of the AR system could share the same image in real time. Clinicians expressed their satisfaction with the quality of imaging and potential clinical benefits.
Conclusions: This study reports the potential value of AR in pulmonary interventions, however, prospective trials need to be conducted to decide on whether novel 3D visualization techniques affect perioperative treatment and outcomes.