3D printed hearts to improve congenital heart surgery

3D Systems partners with OpHeart to improve congenital heart surgery outcomes and announces "Heart-in-Hand" pledge to offer open-access to the 3D heart models


US-based computer manufacturing company 3D Systems has partnered with a non-profit organization OpHeart to provide 3D-printed tools to help pediatric heart surgeons provide enhanced patient outcomes for children with congenital heart defects (CHD).

The organization has developed a "Heart-in-Hand" pledge in partnership with 3D Systems that will aim to provide a 3D printed model of a CHD patient's heart to doctors or the parent for presurgical planning regardless of both party's ability to pay.

OpHeart was founded in 2015 by Anne Garcia whose daughter was born with CHD.

According to 3D Systems, in keeping its pledge to the "Heart-in-Hand" partnership, the company will to deploy 3D printed models on a global scale through a series of software and materials. A team of biomedical engineers will work to convert an MRI or CT scan of the heart into a 3D patient-specific model.

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3D printed tools and models allow surgeons to prepare, plan and rehearse for complex cases to ensure tailored treatments for the patient. "These models have facilitated a significant breakthrough in CHD surgery, providing vital aid to surgeons in their preparations for this complex, delicate surgical procedure," 3D System stated.

Dr. Jorge Salazar, chief of pediatric and congenital heart surgery at Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital and a member of the OpHeart board of directors said: "From a surgeon's perspective, the incorporation of 3D printing into our craft is enabling tremendous breakthroughs.

"The full color 3D printed models provided by 3D Systems have enabled us to achieve outcomes previously considered unobtainable. Their expertise and technology are helping us advance treatment and improve patient outcomes."

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, CHDs impact nearly 1% of births or about 40,000 births per year in the US.


Image: Dr. Jorge Salazar with a 3D heart model

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