Imagine a heart the size of a room, each of its chambers a hallway you can walk through. Well, now surgeons at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center don't have to imagine that, it's reality...virtual reality.

It looks like something out of a Sci-Fi movie or a video game. But, the technology is helping surgeons to solve complex cases, leading to better outcomes for patients. That future of medicine is being written here in central Illinois.

"I was blown away." Pediatric Heart Surgeon Dr. Mark Plunkett says, looking back on his first experience using the virtual reality technology.

Dr. Plunkett’s own heart nearly skipped a beat when he put on the HTC Vive Virtual Reality system and looked at the anatomy of his actual patient’s congenital heart complex, an exact replica of the anatomy.

"This virtual reality technology has taken what was already a wonderful advancement and moved it to a whole other level." Dr. Plunkett explained.

It wasn't long ago that these same doctors were celebrating 3D printed hearts, but just a few short months later the collaborative effort of engineers and clinicians at the Jump Trading and Simulation Center  is allowing them to go a step further, a step inside the heart.

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