Rare heart surgery performed thanks to 3D Printing

Ahmedabad, India is the leading pioneer in this kind of heart surgery as this is the first to be heard of. The doctor’s carefully created and printed 3D models of the 13-year-old patient’s heart to use as practice pieces before the procedure was due to be performed.

3D printing really is the gift that keep’s on giving!

Although the surgery is regarded as being extremely complicated with chances of something going wrong being high. Fortunately, 3D model’s such as the patient’s heart can now help doctors plan surgeries of this nature beforehand.

This patient suffers from Pulmonary Artery (ALCAPA) or the Bland-White-Garland Syndrome, it is a congenital heart condition found in the rarest of rare cases. It is believed to occur when the child’s heart has developed early in the pregnancy. Doctors are usually able to detect any problems shortly after birth however, in this case, the child spent 15 years with the condition left undiagnosed.

Following a CT scan and an angiography confirming the condition, the surgeons at CIMS Hospital determined the surgery would be too complex to perform directly. They printed a scale model of the patient’s heart with the diagnosed condition and took time to study it and prepared for any problems that may occur on the operating table.  The printed out heart cost Rs 14,000 (roughly £135 in the UK).

Dr Dhiren Shah said, “When the child is small, tissue is flexible, and rerouting of blood vessels is easier to undertake. However, in an adolescent, the circumstances are different. Thanks to the model, we could correctly plan the angle of the reroute and carried it out successfully.”