3-D technology boosts project to aid heart surgery

October 16, 2012 by Rosie Gochnour And Joe Kullman
3-D technology boosts project to aid heart surgery
Heart models developed by ASU biomedical engineers show details of various kinds of anatomical defects. Credit: Jessica Slater/ASU

(Medical Xpress)—Efforts to improve preparation for heart surgery are the focus of a collaboration of Arizona State University biomedical engineering researchers and physicians at Phoenix Children's Hospital and St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix.

Surgeons at these medical facilities are using three-dimensional physical models of hearts developed by an ASU team led by David Frakes, an assistant professor in the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering and the School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, two of ASU's Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

The models are constructed using information acquired from computed tomography (CT) scans and as a design blueprint. 

The custom-made models reveal a wealth of information about a patient's heart condition, providing physicians with a tool to aid surgical planning with the aim of decreasing the likelihood of complications during surgery.

The project has recently been aided by the acquisition of a three-dimensional printer with the support of a $75,000 grant from Phoenix Children's Hospital Leadership Circle awarded to Stephen Pophal, director of the Children's Heart Center for .

The Leadership Circle is a group of more than 100 community leaders who help raise funding for and new technologies for the hospital.

Use of the new printer significantly improves the manner in which a three-dimensional heart structure is communicated to surgeons, giving them a quick, accurate and intuitive understanding of a patient's anatomical condition.

"This knowledge means patients can spend a lot less time in surgery and under anesthesia, which could greatly reduce the risks of these ," explains Frakes, who is also working to develop use of the models as educational tools.

Justin Ryan, a biomedical engineering doctoral student on Frakes' research team, describes the three-dimensional printing technique as similar to constructing a building out of bricks. "Many layers of bricks, laid from the ground up, create a building – a full three-dimensional object," he says. "The heart models are essentially printed one brick at a time in layers, until the model is whole."

The new printer at Phoenix Children's Hospital produces three-dimensional heart models by first printing extremely thin two-dimensional slices, which are then bound together by an adhesive and sprayed with ink to give the model various colors that denote specific anatomical features. An average heart model printout consists of around 600 bound layers, each only about one-tenth of a millimeter thick.

Explore further: ASU bioengineers will expand work to solve cardiovascular health challenges

Related Stories

ASU bioengineers will expand work to solve cardiovascular health challenges

June 28, 2011
Biomedical research at Arizona State University will be boosted with support from the American Heart Association for the work of three bioengineers.

3-D printing technology from CT images may be used effectively for neurosurgical planning

April 29, 2011
3D models, produced by combining a patient's CT scans and 3D printing technology are proving useful in neurosurgical planning.

First study of heart 'maps' for kids could help correct rapid rhythms

July 23, 2012
The first study of a procedure to make three-dimensional "maps" of electrical signals in children's hearts could help cardiologists correct rapid heart rhythms in young patients, according to new research presented at the ...

Virtual surgery shows promise in personalized treatment of nasal obstruction

April 18, 2011
A preliminary report suggests that virtual nasal surgery has the potential to be a productive tool that may enable surgeons to perform personalized nasal surgery using computer simulation techniques, according to a report ...

Recommended for you

Researchers investigate the potential of spider silk protein for engineering artificial heart

August 18, 2017
Ever more people are suffering from cardiac insufficiency, despite significant advances in preventing and minimising damage to the heart. The main cause of reduced cardiac functionality lies in the irreversible loss of cardiac ...

Lasers used to detect risk of heart attack and stroke

August 18, 2017
Patients at risk of heart attacks and strokes may be spotted earlier thanks to a diagnosis tool that uses near-infrared light to identify high-risk arterial plaques, according to research carried out at WMG, University of ...

Cholesterol crystals are sure sign a heart attack may loom

August 17, 2017
A new Michigan State University study on 240 emergency room patients shows just how much of a role a person's cholesterol plays, when in a crystallized state, during a heart attack.

How Gata4 helps mend a broken heart

August 15, 2017
During a heart attack, blood stops flowing into the heart; starved for oxygen, part of the heart muscle dies. The heart muscle does not regenerate; instead it replaces dead tissue with scars made of cells called fibroblasts ...

Injectable tissue patch could help repair damaged organs

August 14, 2017
A team of U of T Engineering researchers is mending broken hearts with an expanding tissue bandage a little smaller than a postage stamp.

'Fat but fit' are at increased risk of heart disease

August 14, 2017
Carrying extra weight could raise your risk of heart attack by more than a quarter, even if you are otherwise healthy.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.