The smart specs that offer ‘surgeon’s eye’ view to experts around the world: Heart operations have been carried out in UK using ‘camera glasses’ so specialists can watch remotely and offer support
- The glasses were used during the fitting of a pacemaker to heart failure patient
- John Constable, 65, was treated at the Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge
- Images of operation were sent to technicians allowing them to give advice
Heart surgeons have carried out a UK-first operation using ‘camera glasses’ which allow specialists to watch on remotely from anywhere in the world and offer support.
The glasses were used during the fitting of a pacemaker to heart failure patient John Constable, 65, at the Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge.
Images of the operation were sent to the technicians behind the highly sophisticated implant, allowing them to give instant technical advice from their laptops.
Heart surgeons have carried out a UK-first operation using ‘camera glasses’ (pictured) which allow specialists to watch on remotely from anywhere in the world and offer support
Surgeons say remote assistance is becoming increasingly important given the restrictions on numbers allowed in operating theatres due to coronavirus measures.
Alaina Yardley, lead cardiac physiologist at Royal Papworth, said: ‘The medical technology we use to treat heart failure and arrhythmias is increasingly sophisticated, using complex algorithms that need specialist programming to match the patient’s symptoms.
‘Traditionally we would wait for a technical expert to attend procedures, but Covid-19 has forced us to find new ways and reduce the number of people in catheter labs.’
The Surgery Assistance glasses were used during the implant of a device which monitors a patient’s heartbeat using Bluetooth-like technology and corrects it using small electrical impulses.
Previously used to help with the manufacturing of precision parts such as in the aviation industry, the spectacles have been adapted for safe use in hospitals.
They are equipped with multiple cameras, a torch and earpiece, and share live video, audio and photos.
Consultant cardiologist Dr Patrick Heck, who wore the glasses during the operation, said: ‘We see this as just the start and there could be many other opportunities for use of the smart glasses, from dialling-in other doctors around the world to support on complex cases to training the next generation.’
The hospital’s chief operating officer Eilish Midlane said: ‘This is a fantastic innovation.
‘In the context of a global pandemic, it could not have come at a better time.’
Surgeons say remote assistance is becoming increasingly important given the restrictions on numbers allowed in operating theatres due to coronavirus measures
Mr Constable, from Lincolnshire, is doing well after Wednesday’s operation.
He said afterwards: ‘I’ve been very well looked after and very impressed with the professionalism across the hospital.
‘I’ve felt completely safe and would encourage anyone else needing to come to hospital to not delay their treatment.’
Dutch firm Rods&Cones, which developed the glasses, said it was ‘thrilled’ the procedure, part of a partnership with implant makers Medtronic, had been a success.
Co-founder Bruno Dheedene said: ‘Perhaps most importantly we’re delighted we can help healthcare professionals continue their work despite the current Covid-19 restrictions, so that more lives can be saved.’
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