The Gerlis Collection, consisting of 785 human hearts with defects, is being brought to life in stunning 3D holograms and models, because of you!

Back in the 1960s, Killingbeck Hospital in Leeds pioneered congenital heart defect repairs when knowledge was still limited.

Dr Leon Gerlis was a pathologist and paediatric cardiologist, who added enormously to the scientific understanding of congenital heart defects by building a collection of preserved human hearts.

Gerlis’ collection played a pivotal role in training cardiac surgeons in Leeds. However, regulations now make access to the specimens for learning difficult (Human Tissue Act).

But with modern technology the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit (led by surgeon and CHSF Trustee Carin Van Doorn) is performing MRI scans to create virtual archives of Gerlis’ hearts.

Dr. Leon Gerlis’ collection ensured Leeds was at the forefront of congenital cardiac repair when knowledge was limitied.

This is also thanks to a generous grant of £115,800 from Children’s Heart Surgery Fund, Heart Research UK and Leeds Hospitals Charity.

These scans will generate 3D models and holograms – breaking down barriers to education and research.

This innovation will empower healthcare professionals with advanced training tools and aid patients, families and the public in visualising congenital heart defects.

Heidi Watson, CEO of Children’s Heart Surgery Fund said:

“We are excited to help to digitise the pioneering work of Dr Gerlis for educational benefit, and incredibly proud the work is being led by Miss Carin Van Doorn, one of our long-standing and principal cardiac surgeons and a hero to many of our charity’s heart families.


“The world-class Leeds Congenital Heart Unit suppported by the CHSF was built on a legacy of pioneering achievements and medical breakthroughs from its origins at Killingbeck.


“This revolutionary project will enhance the understanding and treatment of congenital heart disease all around the world, and make a huge difference to the lives of future generations.”

Read all about it!

Thanks to the Yorkshire Evening Post for featuring the beginnings of this exciting project in the paper this week.

Read the article here

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