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UC San Diego: Team Creates 3D Printed Gas Delivery System for Pulmonary MRI Research

by • March 3, 2016 • No Comments

med3D printing is responsible for propagating a host of innovations in each sector, and in virtually each part of the world, rovia artists, engineers, architects, and createers of all sorts as they realize the unlimited opportunities for innovation that have been placed at their desktops and fingertips (and on their factory floors). One can only visualize 3D printing devices of all shapes, dimensionss, manufactures, and versions pumping away all over the world with new innovations for manufacturing and presenting truly progressive art, manufacturing a million mechanical components (literally), car parts for celebrities, and actually apparel, footwear, and comfort items like fancy insoles.

But only as giddy with excitement are researchers in labs around the world, too. Whilst their machines and materials may sometimes alter of that of the mainstream, researchers in addition have opened the door to a new world of discoreally thanks to the 3D printing device, bio-inks, and a host of new innovations on the ground, of 3D printed cellular structures of all sorts to a wide range of 3D printed prosthetics and medical devices.

figure2One area that is offering most options to researchers is that of converting radiology scans like MRIs and CTs to digital form, frequently resulting in what has now come to be a wide range of 3D versions. But a new project, only outlined in ‘Rapid Prototyping of Inspired Gas Delireally System for Pulmonary MRI Research’ by Fredrick Roscoe Cook, Eric T. Geier, Amran K. Asadi, Rui Carlos Sá, and G. Kim Prisk of the University of California, San Diego, shows us the impact new innovation is having on pulmonary research and how they can use those MRIs to actually greater benefit now.

Those involved in assessing pulmonary function are really acquainted with specific ventilation imaging, that is a type of MRI that helps establish levels of air in the lungs and how they are being distributed. Researchers are able-bodied to monitor signal changes as they respond to changes in inspired oxygen concentration, but this current process is not easily transferred to the clinical setting, and the current project aims to simplify SVI measurement.

The paper by University of California researchers discusses how they were able-bodied to use 3D printing to complete the desired ease of use in measuring lung functionality in patients, upon the completion and evaluation of several preliminary prototypes. They discovered that the innovation was indeed ‘well-suited’ for manufacturing the MRI-compatible devices.

figure5“The new delireally process was evaluated based on O2 and N2 concentration step responses and validated against the current SVI protocol,” say the researchers in their paper. “The create performed rapid switching of supplied gas inside 250 ms and consistently supplied the desired concentration of O2 during operation.”

“It showcases a reduction in the number of commercial hardware components, of five to one, and a reduction in the number of gas lines between the operator’s room and the scanner room, of four to one, as well as a substantially reduced preparation time of 25 to 5 min.”

3D printed materials were in addition discovered to be well-suited for these evaluation devices as in an MRI environment, items placed in the scanner room must be created of plastic or nonferrous metal. The researchers were able-bodied to manufacture 3D printed custom hardware for offering rapid gas delireally as well as rapid switching. And in line with all the usual benefits of 3D printing, they were able-bodied to customize their work, and do so really affordably.

“3D printing enable-bodiedd inexpensive and speedy create iteration compared with traditional machining or purchase and assembly of commercially on the market-bodied products and provided the advantage of fabricating custom-createed hardware with MR safe materials,” say the researchers in their paper. “This resulted in a final create that is a easier and additional robust gas delireally method than the original plumbing process.”

In the original process, the next components were to be discovered: inspiratory and expiratory tubing, remotely operated switching valve, and T-shaped three-way valve. According to the researchers, at very least four lines of large-bore and small-bore tubing are passed through the wall of the MR scanner room. In the new, 3D printed process, the components are simplified in number to a mere one valve and one ‘pass through’ line.

“The new create utilizes bypass flow to donate a stream of gas for subjects to breathe of during operation,” say the researchers. “To our knowledge, there are no commercial components readily on the market-bodied that perform this specific function and are MR compatible.”


(A) The bypass flow attachment printed in PLA. (B) The facemask and bypass flow attachment worn by a subject. The supplied gas flows across the facemask for the subject to breathe of and exhausts into the environment. PLA, polylactic acid.

By means of SolidWorks, the team was able-bodied to version the bypass flow attachment, and so slice and prepare it in G-code via the MakerWare software that accompanied their MakerBot Replicator 2 printing device. The settings utilized for printing were 0.2 mm layer height, 15% internal fill, and a wall thickness of two shells (0.8 mm). They utilized 45 g of PLA, and the printing time was only over three hours.

In conclusion of the really fruitful study, researchers stated that the new create was that successfully utilized in multiple breath washout and SV procedures, and prep time for an experiment was just about eliminated, going of 25 to 5 minutes, via the improved gas delireally process.

Price difference of traditional materials was duly stated by the researchers. For the bypass flow attachment to be machined out of polyetheretherketone (PEEK), the expense may be close to $890, with two weeks to be factored in for delireally. Amazingly, with 3D printing, the attachment can be fabricated with $2 of materials and delivered overnight.

The create can in addition be customized to the specifications of the patient, like children, who may require a more compact dimensions, and it’s incredibly versatile overall.

“The inspired gas delireally process can be implemented in any research study involving rapid switching of inspired gasses while in the MRI,” say the researchers in conclusion. “It is MR safe, being created of PLA and nonferrous metals, and is manually operated without pneumatic remote control valves or other electronic equipment. The new gas delireally process improves safety by enabling normal breathing with and without supplied gas flow, and in addition adds the competence to perform SVI and multiple breath washout procedures simultaneously in the MR scanner.”

Overall, the researchers were really pleased to complete that they discovered a really successful replacement method for bringing inspired gas to research subjects in the MRI environment. This is due to their study and resourcefulness as well as all the advantages offered by 3D printing—of customization enabling for better delireally by the attachment, to speed in production, greater affordcompetence, and versatility.

“The create can in addition be easily adjusted, via computer-aided create software, to fit various equipment, manufacturing the technique of 3D printing an better alternative to fabrication by machining or purchase of commercial hardware,” say the researchers.