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

Some cancer therapies may provide a new way to treat high blood pressure

November 20, 2017
Drugs designed to halt cancer growth may offer a new way to control high blood pressure (hypertension), say Georgetown University Medical Center investigators. The finding could offer a real advance in hypertension treatment ...

Could this protein protect people against coronary artery disease?

November 17, 2017
The buildup of plaque in the heart's arteries is an unfortunate part of aging. But by studying the genetic makeup of people who maintain clear arteries into old age, researchers led by UNC's Jonathan Schisler, PhD, have identified ...

Raising 'good' cholesterol fails to protect against heart disease

November 16, 2017
Raising so-called 'good' cholesterol by blocking a key protein involved in its metabolism does not protect against heart disease or stroke, according to a large genetic study of 150,000 Chinese adults published in the journal ...

Popular e-cigarette liquid flavorings may change, damage heart muscle cells

November 16, 2017
Chemicals used to make some popular e-cigarette liquid flavorings—including cinnamon, clove, citrus and floral—may cause changes or damage to heart muscle cells, new research indicates.

New model estimates odds of events that trigger sudden cardiac death

November 16, 2017
A new computational model of heart tissue allows researchers to estimate the probability of rare heartbeat irregularities that can cause sudden cardiac death. The model, developed by Mark Walker and colleagues from Johns ...

Possible use for botulinum toxin to treat atrial fibrillation

November 16, 2017
From temporarily softening wrinkles to easing migraines, botulinum toxin has become a versatile medical remedy because of its ability to block nerve signals that can become bothersome or risky.

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.