A nonprofit health system in Grand Rapids had opened a new, 2,700-square-foot cardiac simulation and education center.

The purpose of the Jacob and Lois Mol Cardiovascular Simulation Center at Spectrum Health is to simulate realistic procedures for structural heart, heart catheter and vascular surgical interventions.

A simulation center sets up a practice test to train professionals.

Center director Dr. Robert Cuff compares the idea of a simulation center to sports in the way it takes practice and hand-eye coordination to get good at sewing up a heart or artery.

Cuff says he can take a CAT scan of a patient and make a 3-D model of it at the center. He can then practice with the model before working on an actual patient.

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