Hospital prints first 3D heart using multiple imaging techniques

June 26, 2015, Spectrum Health
3D image of heart model Credit: Courtesy of Materialise

Congenital heart experts from Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children's Hospital have successfully integrated two common imaging techniques to produce a three-dimensional anatomic model of a patient's heart.

The 3D model printing of patients' hearts has become more common in recent years as part of an emerging, experimental field devoted to enhanced visualization of individual cardiac structures and characteristics. But this is the first time the integration of computed tomography (CT) and three-dimensional transesophageal echocardiography (3DTEE) has successfully been used for printing a hybrid 3D model of a patient's . A proof-of-concept study authored by the Spectrum Health experts also opens the way for these techniques to be used in combination with a third tool— (MRI).

"Hybrid 3D printing integrates the best aspects of two or more imaging modalities, which can potentially enhance diagnosis, as well as interventional and surgical planning," said Jordan Gosnell, Helen DeVos Children's Hospital cardiac sonographer, and lead author of the study. "Previous methods of 3D printing utilize only one imaging modality, which may not be as accurate as merging two or more datasets."

The team used specialized software to register from the two imaging modalities to selectively integrate datasets to produce an accurate anatomic model of the heart. The result creates more detailed and anatomically accurate 3D renderings and printed models, which may enable physicians to better diagnose and treat heart disease.

Another 3D heart model. Credit: Courtesy of Materialise

Computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are established imaging tools for producing 3D printable models. Three-dimensional transesophageal echocardiography (3DTEE) recently was reported by Joseph Vettukattil, M.D., and his Helen DeVos Children's Hospital colleagues to be a feasible imaging technique to generate 3D printing in . Vettukattil is co-director of the Helen DeVos Children's Hospital Congenital Heart Center, division chief, pediatric cardiology, and senior author of the study.

According to Vettukattil and his colleagues, each imaging tool has different strengths, which can improve and enhance 3D printing:

  • CT enhances visualization of the outside anatomy of the heart.
  • MRI is superior to other for measuring the interior of the heart, including the right and left ventricles or main chambers of the heart, as well as the heart's muscular tissue.
  • 3DTEE provides the best visualization of valve anatomy.

"This is a huge leap for individualized medicine in cardiology and congenital heart disease," said Vettukattil. "The technology could be beneficial to cardiologists and surgeons. The model will promote better diagnostic capability and improved interventional and surgical planning, which will help determine whether a condition can be treated via transcatheter route or if it requires surgery."

Vettukattil is known internationally for his work and research with three- and four-dimensional echocardiography. Most notably, Vettukattil developed the advanced technique of multiplanar reformatting in echocardiography, a method used to slice heart structures in infinite planes through the three dimensions in a virtual environment similar to a cardiac pathologist dissecting the heart to reveal underlying pathology. Commonly used with other diagnostic technologies, such as CTs, Vettukattil pioneered its use in echocardiography to evaluate complex heart defects.

Vettukattil is presenting the findings of the proof-of-concept study June 24-27 at the CSI 2015—Catheter Interventions in Congenital, Structural and Valvular Heart Diseases Congress in Frankfurt, Germany to demonstrate the feasibility of printing 3D cardiovascular models derived from multiple imaging modalities.

The Helen DeVos Children's Hospital team worked with the Mimics Innovation Suite software from Materialise, a leading provider of 3D printing software and services based in Belgium, which printed the model using its HeartPrint Flex technology. Gosnell worked on integration of the imaging modalities, collaborating with Materialise's U.S. Headquarters in Plymouth, Mich., to produce the final 3D rendering. Vettukattil devised the concept of integrating two or more imaging modalities for 3D printing.

Further research is required to evaluate the efficacy of hybrid 3D models in decision-making for transcatheter or surgical interventions.

Explore further: 3D printed heart could reduce heart surgeries in children

Related Stories

3D printed heart could reduce heart surgeries in children

December 5, 2014
New 3D printed heart technology could reduce the number of heart surgeries in children with congenital heart disease, according to Dr Peter Verschueren who spoke on the topic today at EuroEcho-Imaging 2014.1 Dr Verschueren ...

Surgeons use 3-D printed model of heart to treat patients with disorders

November 19, 2014
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.

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

February 25, 2014
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, ...

3-D printed heart showcased at world's largest cardiovascular imaging congress

November 7, 2014
New 3D printed heart technology will be showcased at EuroEcho-Imaging 2014, the official annual meeting of the European Association of Cardiovascular Imaging (EACVI), a registered branch of the European Society of Cardiology ...

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.

Surgeon uses 3D technology to make model heart for 4-year-old patient

January 21, 2015
Adaenelie Gonzalez had two open heart surgeries by the time she was 4.

Recommended for you

Heart researchers develop a new, promising imaging technique for cardiac arrhythmias

February 22, 2018
Every five minutes in Germany alone, a person dies of sudden cardiac arrest or fibrillation, the most common cause of death worldwide. This is partly due to the fact that doctors still do not fully understand exactly what ...

Scientists use color-coded tags to discover how heart cells develop

February 22, 2018
UCLA researchers used fluorescent colored proteins to trace how cardiomyocytes—cells in heart muscle that enable it to pump blood—are produced in mouse embryos. The findings could eventually lead to methods for regenerating ...

Beetroot juice supplements may help certain heart failure patients

February 22, 2018
Beetroot juice supplements may help enhance exercise capacity in patients with heart failure, according to a new proof-of-concept study. Exercise capacity is a key factor linked to these patients' quality of life and even ...

'Beetroot pill' could help save patients from kidney failure after heart X-ray

February 22, 2018
Beetroot may reduce the risk of kidney failure in patients having a heart x-ray, according to research led by Queen Mary University of London.

Women once considered low risk for heart disease show evidence of previous heart attack scars

February 20, 2018
Women who complain about chest pain often are reassured by their doctors that there is no reason to worry because their angiograms show that the women don't have blockages in the major heart arteries, a primary cause of heart ...

Can your cardiac device be hacked?

February 20, 2018
Medical devices, including cardiovascular implantable electronic devices could be at risk for hacking. In a paper publishing online today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the American College of Cardiology's ...

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.