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Heart op beamed live to Orlando by Barts NHS in pioneering trans-Atlantic training

PUBLISHED: 10:33 12 July 2016 | UPDATED: 10:33 12 July 2016

Cardiologist Elliot Smith leads NHS team in cardiac live broadcast to Florida

Cardiologist Elliot Smith leads NHS team in cardiac live broadcast to Florida

Barts NHS

A heart operation on a patient has been beamed live by satellite across the Atlantic in a pioneering training session carried out in London at Barts new cardiac centre.

Monitoring transmission being beamed from Barts across the Atlantic via satelliteMonitoring transmission being beamed from Barts across the Atlantic via satellite

The transmission was beamed to specialists in Florida who were able to put questions direct to the Barts NHS medical team as they operated on the patient.

The angioplasty procedure on a 45-year-old man at the new heart centre was pioneered at the former London Chest Hospital in Bethnal Green before it moved to the City two years ago.

Cardiologist Elliot Smith led the 30-minute live broadcast, which involved inserting a small tube to widen a blocked coronary artery.

“Being able to broadcast and train live across the world directly from the catheter labs is a game-changer for cardiac training,” Dr Smith said.

“Live broadcasting means we offer training to improve the lives of countless people across the world.

“The high expense of travelling and long journey times inevitably has an impact, limiting our training.”

Success rates of angioplasty surgery now approach 95 per cent in cardiac training programmes, even in high-risk populations such as east London where the work was pioneered.

The operation was beamed live 42,000 miles out to Space and back via satellite to 500 US cardiologists at a therapeutics meeting in Orlando.

Two high-definition cameras were used in the operating theatre, with cardiologists wearing a microphone so that experts in Orlando could speak to them directly as if they were in the room—and were able to see the operation intercut with live patient diagnostic images including x-ray and ultrasound.

Angioplasty is an alternative to open-heart surgery to clear the blocked artery. It offers one-in-five people with chronic angina, or severe chest pain, the chance of a normal life by restoring blood flow to the heart.


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