Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) is one of the main diagnostic tools of contemporary cardiology. It can provide high quality imaging of the heart due to the position of the probe in the esophagus, located close to the heart. However, obtaining clear diagnostic images is very demanding. It requires not only a detailed anatomical and clinical knowledge of the heart, but also the practical skills needed to properly manipulate the TEE probe.

Our TEE simulator is suitable for training students, residents, cardiologists, anesthetists and intensive care specialists who want to obtain skills without discomfort and the risk of unnecessary harm to patients.

The device is composed of light and mobile hardware (a phantom and TEE probe) connected to a regular PC by USB cable, advanced software and 3D model of a real heart and vessels. The screen interface shows not only 2D cross-sections similar to TEE images but also the components of the probe motion (probe depth, bends and rotation) as well as the angle of the imaging plane.

The advantage of our solution is the capability to use the CT data from a range of real patients with numerous pathologies, giving the chance to create a broad library of very realistic medical simulations and not just artificial models created by artists. Moreover, from patient to patient, there are anatomical differences in the heart and esophagus positions making successful probe manipulation even more demanding and this aspect can be trained as well.

Another advantage is a biplane option showing two simultaneous sections steered independently – as in contemporary 3D echo machines.

When the device is used with a laptop it becomes fully mobile and can be taken to any teaching location and connected to an external monitor. Simultaneous training of many students practicing at the same time under supervision of the trainer is also possible and the performance of each can be assessed before they go on to perform real patient examinations.

The innovation of our approach were confirmed by a European patent (EP2538398) granted in 2015, as well as the award in the InnoStars GoEurope 2016 challenge granted by: