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JU MC student awarded for innovative research on the anatomy of the heart

JU MC student awarded for innovative research on the anatomy of the heart

Jakub Batko, a fourth year student from the JU MC Faculty of Medicine, has received a prestigious award of the International Society of Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery (ISMICS). It was the first time in history that this internationally recognised award was presented to a person who has not yet completed a full medical training.

A group of experts assessing the work of cardiac surgeons from all over the world have awarded Jakub Batko for his innovative research on the anatomy of the heart, which will allow surgeons to perform minimally invasive procedures without the risk of post-op complications. For over three years, he has been working closely with Dr hab. Mateusz Hołda from the JU MC Chair in Anatomy within the framework of the HEART team. More than one year ago, he became involved in research related to clinical anatomy of the chest and its role in cardiac surgery, collaborating with Dr hab. Radosław Litwinowicz from the JU MC Institute of Cardiac Surgery Clinic of Cardiac, Vascular and Transplant Surgery, who in the previous year was the first European to receive the award.

Within the framework of this collaboration, Jakub Batko and his fellow student Daniel Rams have formed the Cardiothoracic Anatomy Research Operative Lab (CAROL), the main aim is to create a comprehensive digital compendium on chest anatomy in order to facilitate minimally invasive heart surgeries.

Over the course of his study, Jakub Batko has created over 100 models of hearts of patients who went through the procedure of closing the left atrial appendage. On the basis of those 3D models, he compared the relative position of the left atrial appendage and the coronary artery in order to establish the least risky area when it comes to the procedure. ‘I managed to pinpoint a ‘safe zone’ in the heart, which will greatly increase the safety of surgery. If a cardiac surgeon is able to learn the exact anatomy of a particular atrial appendage before the procedure, they will be able to close it without issues’, said Jakub Batko.

Research on the anatomy of the left atrial appendage is carried out at the Clinical Department of Cardiac, Vascular and Transplant Surgery of the John Paul II Hospital in Kraków, a leading health care centre performing minimally invasive cardiac surgeries. It was there, in 2009, that Prof. Bogusław Kapelak and Prof. Piotr Bartuś performed the first epicardial closure of the left atrial appendage in the world.

The CAROL team led by Jakub Batko will work on other issues related to clinical anatomy. In the near future, they want to describe in detail the anatomy of the internal thoracic artery used in minimally invasive coronary artery bypass surgery as well as investigate the shape and methods of accessing the pericardial sinuses, which are important for treating heart arrythmia.

The results of the team’s research will soon be published in Innovations: Technology and Techniques in Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery.

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