dr. ir. Wido Heeman received his PhD on the clinical translation of PerfusiX-Imaging with the predicate “Cum Laude”

Good blood perfusion is essential for organ function, wound healing, and the prevention of complications. However, how can a surgeon measure the quality of blood perfusion during an operation? PerfusiX-Imaging aims to provide an answer to this question. The clinical translation was done by Wido Heeman, PhD at the University of Groningen/Campus Fryslân whilst working at LIMIS Development, this device visualizes tissue perfusion. Heeman successfully defended his thesis on December 16, 2022, earning a cum laude distinction for his research.

“So far, surgeons have had to assess the quality of blood perfusion based on subjective characteristics. But with the PerfusiX-Imaging, which works based on laser speckle technology, they can rely on an objective image,” explains Wido. For his research, he collaborated with northern companies such as ZiuZ Visual Intelligence, and northern hospitals, including the Medical Centre Leeuwarden,MCL, UMCG, and the Nij Smellinghe-hospital.

The prototype of the PerfusiX-Imaging was specifically tested on gastrointestinal tissue. During the surgery of gastrointestinal tumors, the tumor is removed, and the two ends of the intestine are reconnected. In approximately 7.5% of these operations, complications arise due to poor local blood perfusion, leading to poor healing of the anastomosis, a condition known as anastomotic leakage. By using perfusion images from the PerfusiX-Imaging, the surgeon can place the anastomoses / sutures at the most optimal location for each patient, thus potentially preventing complications like anastomotic leakage.

The PerfusiX-Imaging was utilized during clinical studies conducted at the Medical Center Leeuwarden and the Nij Smellinghe hospital in Drachten. The studies revealed that in 17% of the surgeries, surgeons would have adjusted the location based on the PerfusiX-Imaging perfusion images. “While further research is needed to determine how PerfusiX-Imaging can prevent complications, the current results are promising,” says Wido Heeman.