Between 28 and 31 January, AIMed team was reporting live from UAE, at the 44thedition of Arab Health Exhibition & Congress. The annual conference and trade show held at the Dubai World Trade Centre and Conrad Hotel is one of the biggest healthcare events in the World. It aims to bring the international healthcare industry to the Middle East. 

This year, Arab Health’s participants include an estimated 84,500 attendees and 4000 exhibitors from 160 countries. Apart from attending accredited seminars and speaking with distinguished guests, AIMed team had also uncovered many new technology and innovations around digital healthcare. The digital twin of a heart by Siemens Healthineers being one of them. 

Digital twin technology creates virtual model of a physical asset with high resemblance and it caught the World’s attention in 2017. Siemens’ digital twin of a heart is a multi-facet, personalized replica of a patient’s heart. As an intended duplication, the virtual heart is mechanically and statistically modeled, so that it shares indistinguishable dimensions, muscle contractions, electrical signal activation and pressure dynamics with its genuine counterpart. 

Digital twin of a heart and its function 

The digital twin of a heart is constantly under control so that healthcare professionals can use it to test various therapies and prescribe the best to the patient eventually. Specifically, physicians can observe how the heart functions under the novel environment. Its reactions towards hyperkalemia induced arrhythmias (i.e., this is crucial in predicting or understanding of cardiac arrest). As well as how the heart resuscitates after a related surgery. 

Siemens uses sensors installed on patients to obtain real-time performance data. Information coming from flowing rate, electrophysiology studies, and mitral regurgitation were all taken into account to ensure the digital copy continuously mirrors the patient’s actual heart over time. As such, Jörg Aumüller, head of digitalizing healthcare and vice-president of marketing of Siemens Healthineers believes the digital twin will be useful in pre-operative planning, reduction of medical risks and generating more accurate therapy for patients.   

Seeing double may be the future 

Presently, the digital twin of a virtual heart is still under development but Aumüller thought Arab Health had provided an important platform to showcase the technology. “There’s a lot going on here in UAE as a whole. Digitization is a major playing field and there is also a culture of funding from the government perspective, looking into the potential that digitization could bring into this market,” Aumüller said. 

At this rate, it’s a matter of time before physicians “visit the same patient twice”: once via the use of digital twin for feedback and the other on the actual patient for better diagnosis and treatment. 

“Constantly, we are also looking into the future to what could be enabled by innovations, to improve a patient’s experience, transform care delivery and also expand medicine in this area.” Aumüller added.

Watch the full video containing Jörg Aumüller’s explanation of Siemens’ digital twin of a virtual heart below.


Author Bio

Hazel Tang A science writer with data background and an interest in the current affair, culture, and arts; a no-med from an (almost) all-med family. Follow on Twitter.