RIT professor created simulation that could help treat heart patients

Extraordinary People

HENRIETTA, NY (WROC) — A professor at RIT developed new technology that could one day help doctors treat heart patients.

It’s also a way for Doctor Elizabeth Cherry to help students with their studies.

RIT Associate Professor Doctor Elizabeth Cherry has a passion for the heart. She helped develop a supercomputer simulation that can be used on computers and cellphones.

“This kind of solves one piece of the puzzle,” she explains. “You don’t have to have a sophisticated programmer on staff.”

Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide and models like this can be crucial in studying and treating problems like arrhythmia. She says doctors can use these to have better discussions with patients. “For example, to plan certain types of surgeries or medical interventions or possibly to test who’s at-risk for certain types of arrhythmia.”

Cherry says because of the complexity of the heart, modeling conditions like arrhythmia requires solving billions of different equations and, until now, has been limited to those with access to a supercomputer.

“We’ve been doing this for a really long time because we have been interested in doing these types of simulations for literally decades and have been frustrated with the available sorts of hardware solutions,” she explains.

“We solve mathematical equations of what’s going on in the heart and these could be individualized to represent a particular patient,” said Dr. Cherry.

And hopefully improve treatment for millions of people suffering from heart conditions.

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