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Replicas of the human heart that are made on 3D printers could help save babies' lives, new research suggests.
The heart replicas are designed to match every tiny detail of a baby's heart, so they can help surgeons plan where to cut tissue, reroute piping and patch holes in children with congenital heart defects, researchers said. The new findings were presented today (Nov. 19) at the American Heart Association meeting in Chicago.
Though just a handful of such hearts have been used so far, the replicas have already revealed hidden Swiss cheese-like holes in one child's heart, and in another case, inspired a repair strategy that dramatically extended the baby's projected life span.
"From the first two cases straight out of the gate, we've had this dramatic impact," said study co-author Dr. Matthew Bramlet, a pediatric cardiologist at the University of Illinois College of Medicine and the Children's Hospital of Illinois, both in Peoria.
The early results suggest 3D printing hearts could dramatically improve surgeons' understanding of defects before they go into the operating room, the researchers said.
originally posted by: N3k9Ni
a reply to: Rainbowresidue
As amazing as this is, I can't help but wonder if this technique could be used to examine other organs.
Even in adults there are times when current imaging processes don't fully reveal complications that might arise. If this could be used to examine lungs, liver, kidneys and brain, this could be a huge step toward more accurate and effective surgical procedures.
I really hope that this becomes a viable examination tool. Thanks for posting this.