Feature | November 20, 2014

Surgeons use 3-D Printed Model of Heart to Treat Patients with Disorders

A 3-D printed model of the heart, combined with standard medical images, may help surgeons treat patients born with complicated heart disorders

3-D heart model, congenital heart defects, cardiovascular surgery

Plaster composite heart focusing on the intracardiac details to aid surgical planning.

November 20, 2014 — An experimental 3-D 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 2-D images taken by X-ray, ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for surgical planning. However, these images may not reveal complex structural complications in the heart’s chambers that occur with congenital heart defects, as opposed to developing later in life within a structurally normal heart.

But with standard 2-D images as a guide, doctors now can build a detailed 3-D model of the heart from various materials, such as plaster or ceramic, to reveal even the most complicated structural abnormalities.

“With 3-D printing, surgeons can make better decisions before they go into the operating room,” said Matthew Bramlet, M.D., study lead author and assistant professor of pediatric cardiology and director of the Congenital Heart Disease MRI Program at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Peoria. “The more prepared they are, the better decisions they make, and the fewer surprises that they encounter.

“When you’re holding the heart model in your hands, it provides a new dimension of understanding that cannot be attained by 2-D or even 3-D images. What once was used to build trucks, we’re using now to build models of hearts.”

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.

“You could see that if you make this compromise here, you could fix this problem, and go from a single-ventricle to a two-ventricle repair,” Bramlet said. “That is the difference, potentially, between a life expectancy of two to three decades, to four, five or six decades.”

Researchers caution that this was a small study and 3-D printing is still an emerging technology that is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The university’s collaborator, the Jump Trading Simulation and Education Center in Peoria, made the printer available for the study.

Co-authors are Randall Fortuna, M.D., and Welke Karl, M.D. Author disclosures are on the manuscript.

Private donors supported the study.

For more information: www.heart.org

Related Content

Transplanting Pig Hearts Into Humans One Step Closer
News | Cardiovascular Surgery | December 11, 2018
The scientific journal Nature recently published an article from Munich University Hospital which describes the long-...
Bilateral Artery Use Does Not Improve 10-Year CABG Outcomes
News | Cardiovascular Surgery | September 06, 2018
While it is firmly established that the use of one internal thoracic artery can improve life expectancy in coronary...
Mandatory Public Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting Reporting Associated With Better Patient Outcomes
News | Cardiovascular Surgery | April 30, 2018
Mandatory public reporting of coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) results in Massachusetts was associated with...
Gecko Biomedical Receives CE Mark Approval for Setalum Sealant
News | Cardiovascular Surgery | September 19, 2017
Gecko Biomedical announced it has received CE Mark approval for its Setalum Sealant, allowing the company to market its...
ClearFlow Inc. Announces Positive U.S. Clinical Trial Results
News | Cardiovascular Surgery | September 08, 2017
September 8, 2017 — ClearFlow Inc.
Videos | Cardiovascular Surgery | July 19, 2017
This video educational session, provided in partnership with the American Society of Echocardiography (ASE), is title
Intensive Glycemic Control Program Produces Significant Per-Patient Cost Savings for CABG Surgery
News | Cardiovascular Surgery | May 25, 2017
A new study from Emory University observed a near-20 percent reduction in perioperative complications, a 1.2-day...
Risk of Heart Transplant Rejection Reduced by Desensitizing Patient Antibodies
News | Cardiovascular Surgery | May 23, 2017
The risk of heart transplant rejection can be reduced by desensitizing patient antibodies, according to research...
Scientists Show How Cells React to Injury From Open-Heart Surgery
News | Cardiovascular Surgery | May 04, 2017
Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute investigators have learned how cardiac muscle cells react to a certain type of injury that...
Overlay Init