Vall d’Hebron develops the world’s first 4D transesophageal probe for children with heart disease


Vall d’Hebron Hospital (Barcelona) and General Electrical Health Care, multinational leader in cardiac imaging, have co-developed the first 4D transesophageal probe in the world that can explore the hearts of all pediatric patients: from five-kilo babies to teenagers. His name is 9VT-D.

Congenital heart defects are most common congenital malformations: eight out of a thousand children who were born all over the world suffer from it. Only in Catalonia, every year a few 600 children with congenital heart disease, of which approximately 25% will need surgery, most before reaching a year of life. To improve the diagnosis and surgical treatment of congenital heart disease, know the exact cardiac physiology of every pediatric patient is crucial.

“The new 9VTD transesophageal probe has a extraordinary image quality, which offers a exact correlation between the cardiac image and the patient’s anatomy, allowing more precise planning of the surgical procedures and catheterizations that best suit each child. And all this with a minimum size, which allows it to be used even in newborns from five kilos of weight, “emphasizes Ferran Roses, Clinical Head of Pediatric Cardiology in Vall d’Hebron, CSUR reference center in Catalonia in the care of pediatric cardiac patients and the only center in Catalonia with a pediatric heart failure program and pediatric heart transplantation.

“The new technology of the 9VT-D probe was built in a miniaturised, bringing together the latest 4D technology in a flexible probe with a diameter of 3.5 millimeters, compared to more than 10 millimeters for adult patients. Due to its thickness, the adult 4D transesophageal probe cannot be used in patients less than 20 kg, in which until now a 2D transesophageal probe was used, which offers less information and image detail”, explains Gemma Giralt, pediatric cardiologist in Vall d’Hebron.


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Uses of Transesophageal Ultrasound ultrasound to produce an image of the heart and see how it works, just like the conventional transthoracic echocardiography, but the sound waves are sent through a tube which is inserted into the mouth and throat, until it reaches the esophagus. In this way, heart structures are appreciated with much more precision as the heart is in contact with the esophagus and fat from the skin, ribs and lungs does not obstruct the ultrasound.

Zone 9VT-D offers three dimensional pictures with real-time heart movement, has a length of 90 centimeters and allows a field of 90 degree view. In addition to one brilliant image quality, Comparable to that of an MRI, it has applications such as dual cropping, which allows the selected section of the heart to be viewed simultaneously from two angles (for example, from the ventricle and from the aorta). This also has 4D markers to mark points that serve as a guide during the ultrasound and are kept at change the image from two-dimensional to 4D.

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