3D printing and medicine hardly blend; that’s what the world thought it to be until the two of the domains came together to conjure a miracle with a tiny 3D printed heart that the humankind stood to witness in awe and silence. An extremely critical heart surgery of an infant at his 12th week in this world turned out to be the easiest accomplishment for the otherwise uncertain cardiac surgeons as a 3D printed replica of a heart was used as replacement (Source: IFL Science). The baby was suffering from CHD (Congenital Heart Defect), a certain condition characterized by permeable pores in the heart; only in this case the structural formation of the heart was also unnatural.
How the heart was replicated through 3D printing is interesting itself. The medical team used MRI scan data in order to trace the exact shape and structure of the heart to lay the out as the design output to process the throughput. Thus all irregularities in the shape and formation were spotted precisely. All the minute detail in the structure was used as inputs to print out the substitute. This was done in order to save the surgeons the critical and life-endangering tasks of cutting tissues, stitching holes and rerouting the pipes.
In the end, the operation came out successful and the case was presented at a seminar at the American Heart Association. Reports point out that only a few handpicked such cases have documented so far where a 3D printed heart transplantation has save the life of a patent. In a certain case, the replica heart has been used to mend damages in the heart of another baby that has supposedly extended the patient’s estimated lifespan. Doctors at the University of Illinois College of Medicine have also pointed out to the fact that the tiny replicated 3D printed heart has also been very effective in helping them learn and examine the flaws and formulate a possible solution for the same.
Understanding that a future need may arise from such cases, Dr. Matthew Bramlet, from the Ilinois College of Medicine set to creating hearts that match the magnetic resonance data with complete accuracy (Source: Fox News). The hearts are printed at the Jump Trading Simulation and Education Center, Peoria. The counterfeit printed hearts have been highly effective in helping cardiac surgeons make the right surgical decision and repair damages in a rather straight forward manner, instead of going the ancient way. Heart surgeries are to get simplified with the use of 3D printing applications in the near future.