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Published on April 2nd, 2015 | by ananya kondiparthy

3D printed aortic model saves teenager’s life

How things have begun to take shape in the 3D printing world is wooing us everyday..! Recently we witnessed an interesting progress where a serious heart condition was cured with the help of 3D printing technology in a Michigan State hospital, USA. It seems that now doctors are choosing a reliable and convenient option where they would first 3D scan the area where the patient is having a problem, then they practiced a surgery on the 3D printed object before they performed the actual surgery on the patient. A 17-year-old girl, Ariana Smith, is reported to be the first patient in the Michigan State who got highly benefited by this 3D printing application.

After her son was found to have heart murmur, Jacqueline Foster, Adriana’s mother, decided to take all her four children to the hospital and get an electrocardiogram performed on each one of them. The doctors diagnosed certain heart abnormalities in Adriana too. So she was advised to undergo cardiac catheterization, a process where a plastic tube is passed through the blood vessels of the heart in order to better understand the conditions inside the heart, and provide with possible solutions at the same time.

After a thorough test, it was found out that Adriana was suffering from a very dangerous condition in her heart – an aortic aneurysm where a tortuous aorta had a distorted path and shape.

Dr. Daisuke Kobayashi, Adriana’s cardiologist explains, “Ariana’s condition was extensively discussed with our pediatric cardiovascular surgeons and cardiologists in order to provide the best treatment and outcome. Surgical therapy was a high-risk operation for her age and anatomy which could lead to possible complications with her aorta.”

Understanding the possible consequences the team of cardiologists inclding Daisuke Kobayashi, M.D., Richard Humes, M.D., Thomas Forbes, M.D. and Daniel Turner, M.D., turned to 3D printing technology for a possible. They got in touch with Materialise, a 3D printing company.

Materialise, a Plymouth, Michigan-based company, with the help of their own Mimics Innovation Suite software and HeartPrint service converted the CT scan of Adriana’s heart into a full-size 3D printed replica. With that replica the team of doctors had a ‘test-run’ of their process before they could conduct the actual surgery on Adriana’s heart.

“Using the 3D printed model of Ariana’s aorta, we performed a ‘practice-run’ or simulation in the cath lab, where we actually placed a stent into the model,” said Dr. Turner. “This allowed us to precisely plan the procedure and see how the stent responded in her unique and tortuous anatomy. Then, when we performed Ariana’s actual procedure, we had a good idea of how it was going to go.”

The surgery was so successful that Adriana was allowed to leave after one night, where normally patients would have to take at least a week to leave. And even better news is that the cheerleader and volleyball player, Adriana, joined back her school within a week.

We wish Adriana great health. We at think3D are anticipating such developments in the field of medicine sooner so that our doctors find effective and long-term solutions for the patients.

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