Vantari VR backed by Janssen to launch world’s first virtual right heart catheter course

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Vantari VR backed by Johnson & Johnson's medicines division, Janssen, has launched the first virtual right heart catheter course.

The emerging Australian virtual reality company has partnered with cardiologist, Clinical Associate Professor Martin Brown, to launch and rollout the course. It says it has the potential to revolutionise the way clinicians receive training.

A cardiologist specialising in pulmonary hypertension and advanced heart failure, Dr Brown is an associate clinical professor at Macquarie University. He originally developed the right heart catheter training program in 2017 in collaboration with Janssen. It was approved for training by the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand.

The program, originally performed in a simulation laboratory at Macquarie University Hospital using mannequins, was set to be rolled out nationally in 2020. However, it was delayed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Also, as a result, Associate Professor Brown decided to develop a virtual program and was pleased to discover that Vantari VR's technology will allow the training to be performed without risk to a real patient.

"As far as I am aware, this will be a worldwide first in training doctors to perform this procedure in the virtual space. I am excited to develop an innovative training program with new technology in this specific area and showcase the possibilities to the medical fraternity,” said Associate Professor Brown.

Vantari VR's flight-simulator-style technology allows training that reduces the risk of medical error.

Co-founders and Co-CEOs, Dr Nishanth Krishnananthan and Dr Vijay Paul, said they are anticipating the global adoption of the virtual training platform.

“The right heart catheter program is an exciting addition to our platform and opens up an array of potential applications in interventional cardiology,” said Dr Nishanth Krishnananthan.

“COVID-19 has made it evident that we need to future-proof education and training and Virtual Reality is the way forward,” he said.

“Our collaboration with Associate Professor Brown started almost a year ago and what a journey it has been,” said Dr Vijay Paul.

“Creating a complex cardiology procedure in VR would have seemed unfathomable a few years ago but the technology has grown rapidly and we are proud to be leading the way at Vantari.”

The program will be delivered in three stages.

The first stage will train clinicians on how to perform the catheterisation. The following two stages will cover recognition of waveforms from real patient cases, followed by management of complications.

“This will enable training in a safe, complication-free environment which will ultimately increase trainees’ confidence and skill in not only inserting the catheter but also recognising patterns of disease and managing complications in a protected manner without risk to real patients. This will result in flow-on effects to patient safety, diagnosis and management in Australia and hopefully on a global scale,” said Associate Professor Brown.

“I see the virtual training space as the future of junior and senior doctor training in multiple procedures, both current and for the multitude of innovative and experimental procedures to come.”