Surgeons at Southampton General Hospital were in a tough spot. Their 85-year-old patient had a large hole in her heart that could not be treated using the usual open surgical procedure. Enter Dr. Joseph Vettukattil, a consultant congenital cardiologist with a really cool piece of equipment. Vettukattil used his multi-plane 3D echocardiography to create a complete digital model of the patient’s heart without any physical intervention. After reviewing the images, Vettukattil drew up specifications for a patch that would close the hole. He sent the specs to a group of specialists in Sweden and, 48 hours later, the patch arrived. Surgeons implanted the patch in the patient and she was discharged from the hospital a week later. Vettukattil’s 3D imaging technique is revolutionizing diagnostic cardiology, which traditionally relied on two-dimensional echocardiography as well as more invasive investigations, such as cardiac catheterization. The digital images allow physicians to view intricacies of the heart that even a surgeon cannot detect intra-operatively. This means doctors can view a more detailed model of the heart without subjecting the patient to an invasive procedure. Vettukattil said this case may be a milestone moment in heart attack treatment. His 3D imaging is already being used to develop a specific device for acute heart attacks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 935,000 Americans have a heart attack each year.