Surgeons Use 3-D Printed ModelTo Treat Patients With Heart Disorders

Surgeons Use 3-D Printed Model Of Heart To Treat Patients With Disorders
Plaster composite heart focusing on the intracardiac details to aid
 surgical planning. (copyright Kyle Formella, Jump
Trading Simulation and Education Center)
An experimental 3-dimensional printed model of the heart may help surgeons treat patients born with complicated heart disorders, according to research presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2014.
 
Most heart surgeons use 2D images taken by X-ray, ultrasound and MRI for surgical planning. However, these images may not reveal complex structural complications in the heart's chambers that occur when heart disease is present at birth (congenital heart defects), as opposed to developing later in life within a structurally normal heart. But with standard 2D images as a guide, doctors now can build a detailed 3D model of the heart from various materials, such as plaster or ceramic, to reveal even the most complicated structural abnormalities.
 
Researchers used an inexpensive plaster composite material to create heart models of a 9-month-old girl, 3-year-old boy and a woman in her 20s all of whom had complex congenital heart defects. After studying the models and traditional images, surgeons successfully repaired severe heart abnormalities in all three patients.
 
Researchers caution that this was a small study and 3D printing is still an emerging technology that is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration.