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3D Printed Heart Model Gives a Five-Year-Old Girl a Good Chance for a Long Life

by • April 5, 2016 • No Comments

3D printing version of heart - Nikaidoh Procedure

3D version of Sunita’s heart

When I started writing of 3D printing, I never expected that I may learn so much of medicine. I’ve learned a excellent deal of the heart, in particular – knowledge that’s both enlightening and frightening, as I never accomplished the amazing variety and complexity of conditions that can affect this significant organ. The bright side, yet, is that the knowledge of these conditions comes with the knowledge that they can be fixed with the assist of 3D printing, and that’s what blows my mind – the fact that surgeons can completely repair a heart so badly malformed as to be in fact twisted, or a heart with its veins out of place. It wasn’t long ago that surgeries like these were considered too risky to actually be attempted, but with 3D printed surgical versions that allow surgeons to study and plan preceding operating, these procedures can not just be performed, but can turn actually the many damaged hearts into healthy ones.

Currently I learned of yet another heart condition that sounds too complex to be imagined, much less survived. Sunita (name changed), the five-year-old daughter of a fisherman of Palghar, India, suffered of Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD), meaning that a sizeable-bodied hole sat between the two lower chambers of her heart. Her condition was additional complex by the fact that her pulmonary artery was too narrow and abnormally positioned, major to a diagnosis of “double outlet right ventricle with malposed excellent arteries with a sizeable-bodied inlet Ventricular Septal Defect and severe Pulmonary Stenosis.”

Sunita’s parents were understandably frightened by her condition, but they were actually additional frightened by the risks that a surgical procedure may present. When she turned five, yet, she began exhibiting additional severe symptoms such as shortness of breath, sweating and pallor, and treatment may no longer be put off. On the suggestion of their family doctor, Sunita’s parents brought her to Fortis Hospital, where they were referred to Dr. Vijay Agarwal.

Dr. Vijay Agarwal

Dr. Vijay Agarwal

“Sunita’s condition was rare due to the complications involved. Her Aorta was at wrong place – instead of being above the left ventricle, it was placed above the right ventricle,” Dr. Agarwal explained. “And this was additional complex by her narrowed Pulmonary Arteries. When we initially assessed the patient in our OPD, we accomplished that we may approach Sunita’s case in two totally various ways. In the initially approach, we may have performed two separate surgeries to fix two various conditions. But this plan had low risk, the heart defects may not be corrected fully with this approach. The 2nd version may be corrective, but radical, in that the heart may be opened up and the base of the Aorta may be cut off of the heart. The Aorta may and so be re-stitched over the correct ventricle (left ventricle). The remaining steps may be routine. This surgery is called ‘Nikaidoh Procedure.’”

The Nikaidoh Procedure, due to its risk and complexity, is quite rarely performed, but the surgeons at Fortis Hospital decided to go ahead with it after evaluating the pros and cons of both versions. Luckily, Dr. Agarwal has a history of that successfully performing risky pediatric heart surgeries – thanks in no tiny part to the use of 3D printed surgical versions. As in the case of other pediatric patients they had operated on, the Fortis surgical team took CT scans of Sunita’s heart and utilized them to turn it into a 3D version, that was and so printed.

3D printing version of heart -2 - Nikaidoh ProcedureThe surgery was performed in two stages. In the initially, and riskiest, stage, the surgeons removed Sunita’s aorta of her right ventricle and attached it above her left ventricle, where it should have been had her heart created normally. As the aorta is the main artery of the body, moving it was an incredibly delicate procedure, but the team carried it out that successfully, and the 2nd stage of the operation was effortless in comparison. The surgeons removed the malformed pulmonary arteries and replaced them with a conduit tube to redirect blood flow. The entire procedure took of four hours.

“With a exact 3-D version of the heart, we were sure of the problem areas and were able-bodied to plan out the surgery with excellenter confidence of success,” said Dr. Swati Garekar, a pediatric cardiologist at Fortis Hospital. “Given its complexity and risks involved, the Nikaidoh Procedure is rarely utilized in the city. But with our experience of handling much like cases in the past, the state-of-the-art facilities at Mulund’s Fortis Hospital and with the assist of 3D Print version of the heart, we were able-bodied to manage risks and performed the surgery that successfully.”

The surgery was performed in January, and Sunita is recovering well. Her life expectations – both length and high end – are now the same as those for any other child. These are the stories I’ll never get tired of hearing. What are your yetts on the effects innovation is building in medicine and surgery? Discuss in the 3D Printed Heart Model for Sunita forum over at 3DPB.com.