Text: Han Konings

AngioSupport, designed to offer cardiologists better insights
AngioSupport, designed to offer cardiologists better insights

Tim van den Boom and Bettine van Willigen are currently doing a two-year PDEng doctorate degree for Qualified Medical Engineer.

They’re working on an interactive tool called AngioSupport, designed to offer cardiologists better insights into the impact of their decisions when treating coronary artery occlusions. 

AngioSupport, designed to offer cardiologists better insights
"We put the knowledge of the university into practice"

AngioSupport is a tool that combines the best blood flow models, designed by Eindhoven University of Technology. “We put the knowledge of the university into practice,” says an enthusiastic Van Willigen. 

Every morning, the cardiac team at Catharina Hospital in Eindhoven tackles the treatment plans of about 15 patients. These are the more complex cases, and for each of these patients the cardiologists have to assess what would be the best treatment: placing a stent or doing a bypass. 

"tremendous improvement"

Currently that decision is based on the X-rays of the patient’s coronary arteries and the experience of the cardiac team. It would be a tremendous improvement if the doctors could know in advance the effect of their proposed treatment on the patient’s health. 

With this idea in mind, Tim van den Boom and Bettine van Willigen - both graduates from the TU/e- faculty of Biomedical Technology - started their doctorate studies for PDEng Qualified Medical Engineer in March 2018, at LifeTec Group, a company that does pre-clinical contract research and focuses on designing and building relevant realistic testing platforms to try out new medical equipment or interventions. “It’s really fantastic when you come from a university environment and you suddenly get to work in a clinical setting,” says Van Willigen. 

  • AngioSupport | Interface developed and presented by R&D Engineers Bettine van Willigen and Tim van den Boom
    AngioSupport | Interface developed and presented by R&D Engineers Bettine van Willigen and Tim van den Boom
    AngioSupport | Interface developed and presented by R&D Engineers Bettine van Willigen and Tim van den Boom
  • These coronary angiograms are segmented by the CAAS software of Pie Medical Imaging to generate a 3D structure of the coronary arteries
    These coronary angiograms are segmented by the CAAS software of Pie Medical Imaging to generate a 3D structure of the coronary arteries
    These coronary angiograms are segmented by the CAAS software of Pie Medical Imaging to generate a 3D structure of the coronary arteries
  • AngioSupport - Interface
    AngioSupport - Interface
    AngioSupport - Interface

"3D reconstruction of the coronary arteries"

AngioSupport uses coronary angiograms to make a 3D reconstruction of the coronary arteries. It creates a patient-specific artery structure (see picture slider above) that is then linked to the correct preconditions. These preconditions describe the vascular bed in front of as well as behind the coronary arteries and are determined using the patient's data. This renders a unique vascular bed. The mathematical model developed at TU/e calculates the blood flow through the vessels. It offers the possibility of placing virtual interventions, such as a stent, or to perform a bypass. AngioSupport shows the doctors within seconds what the impact will be and how the possible impacts differ from one another. 

So what we’re doing is combining a number of existing factors to create an interactive tool for cardiologists,” Van den Boom explains. “The cardiologists we work with are very enthusiastic and they give us a lot of useful feedback. So our PDEng project focuses on the practical and pragmatic application of our combined knowledge.” 

Van Willigen enjoys working in the medical field. “I’m constantly dialoguing with people on the work floor. They tell me immediately what they want and what they lack. And we use that to further develop our tool.

At the moment more funds are needed to actually cross over to medical practice. “AngioSupport needs to be developed a lot more before we can deliver the usable end product.

This process is what the two PDEng candidates hope to contribute to. 

Contact:

Please do not hesitate to contact Bettine van Willigen or Tim van den Boom if you require any further information:

Phone: +31 40 298 93 93

Email: info@lifetecgroup.com

Head of MedTech Innovation

Marco Stijnen

Junior R&D Engineer

Tim van den Boom

Junior R&D Engineer

Bettine van Willigen

Acknowledgement

the text is a "4TU Magazine - Carrière Special" publication translated from Dutch to English.

Relevant links and backrgound information:

  • AngioSupport Case Description [link]
  • CompBioMed "all hands meeting" @ University of Oxford [link]
  • "Numerical Simulations in the assessment of coronary artery disease" | CompBioMed Newsletter [link]

 

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