Doctor uses printed 3D heart to assist in infant heart surgery

by Bob Yirka weblog
Doctor uses printed 3D heart to assist in infant heart surgery
Credit: The Courier-Journal

Louisville Kentucky cardiothoracic surgeon Erle Austin has performed successful heart repair surgery on a 14 month old infant named Roland Lian Cung Bawi—heart surgery on such a young patient is not unheard of, of course, what's new is that Austin was able to map out his surgical approach using a nearly exact model of the patients heart—it had been printed on a 3D printer.

Young Roland had been born with four congenital defects—doctors had known since before he was born that his heart had problems. Fixing them all would prove to be a challenge. When it came time to plan the , Austin consulted with other surgeons and found each of them had different ideas on the best way to fix the heart. The ideal approach would involve the least amount of cutting and suturing—but that can be hard to plan using only conventional scanning techniques. Looking for more precision, Austin turned to the engineering school at the University of Louisville—they'd been researching different kinds of 3D printing technology. Researchers at the University worked with radiologists at Kosair Children's Hospital to create a means for converting data from a CT scan of Roland's heart to data that could be used with a 3D printer. The two seemed a perfect match as CT scanning uses the same basic idea as 3D printing—it takes pictures of slices and puts them together on a computer screen to form a whole, and 3D printing is achieved by laying down one layer or "slice" of material at a time.

The 3D printing team used a MakerBot Replicator 2X, to print the heart (in three pieces) at twice its normal size—they also used a flexible type of plastic known as "Ninja Flex" instead of ABS—it allowed the surgeon to bend the finished heart in ways that resembled a real human heart. Printing the heart took approximately 20 hours at a cost of roughly $600.

Austin told local news reporters that the printed heart let him plan the surgery in ways he'd never experienced before—it allowed for a single surgery (this past February 10) and greatly reduced cutting and suturing, which ultimately led to a much quicker recovery for Roland, who by all accounts is now doing just fine.


More information: via The Courier-Journal

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

3D printing takes on metal at Amsterdam lab (w/ video)

Feb 22, 2014

(Phys.org) —To say that the Joris Laarman Lab is an innovative type of group is putting it mildly. The Amsterdam place is described as "an experimental playground set up to study and shape the future. It ...

3D printing lab opens new window into cancer research

Feb 12, 2014

The first 3D print of a G-quadruplex DNA sequence and its molecular structure was recently created at The University of Alabama in the UA 3D Printing Lab, allowing researchers a potentially valuable new tool ...

3D Builder is free 3D printing app for Windows 8.1

Nov 18, 2013

Microsoft continues to beat the drum as a technology company out to inspire and support 3D printing. After announcing earlier this year that it would be supporting 3D printing in Windows 8.1, Microsoft earlier ...

Recommended for you

Exploring 3-D printing to make organs for transplants

Jul 30, 2014

Printing whole new organs for transplants sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, but the real-life budding technology could one day make actual kidneys, livers, hearts and other organs for patients ...

High frequency of potential entrapment gaps in hospital beds

Jul 30, 2014

A survey of beds within a large teaching hospital in Ireland has shown than many of them did not comply with dimensional standards put in place to minimise the risk of entrapment. The report, published online in the journal ...

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

antialias_physorg
not rated yet Feb 25, 2014
Heh, we were doing that 13 years ago (although not for heart surgery but for maxillofacial surgery and cranial surgery). Printing out the maxilla based on the CT scans was interesting to the surgeon as we could print out dual color objects (e.g. transparent for the bone mass and a color for critical structures like tumors or nerve canals which must not be breached during surgery).

In the end we did one demonstration object for an operation on a girl who had had her jaw broken by a soldier in the serb-bosnian conflict at age 9 - and the jawbone never healed in a proper position thereafter.

At the time the object was judged very helpful by the surgeon, but the price was still too high to have this as a regular feature of operation preparations. With cheap 3D printers nowadays the method seems to be viable. Cool.