FEBRUARY 25, 2014

Hospital officials at the Kosair Children’s Hospital have stated that 3D printing was used to support an infant pediatric heart patient for the first time recently. Doctors operating on a 14-month-old with heart defects studied a three dimensional replica of the child’s heart to aid successful surgery outcomes. The infant’s heart was riddled with defects before the surgery at the Hospital and his surgeon, Dr. Erle Austin, said that he had anticipated that the surgery would be tricky and thus sought a model that offered more detail than traditional 2D scans.

Dr. Austin’s team contacted the University of Louisville J.B. Speed School of Engineering, which used a 3D printer to create a polymer model of the heart to provide vital insight ahead of the planned surgery.


“Once I had a model, I knew exactly what I needed to do and how I could do it, It was a tremendous benefit.” said theCardiothoracic surgeon, who was able to reduce exploratory incisions, reduce overall operating time and also even ensure that Roland would not require any sequential or consequential follow-up operations for this relatively high-risk surgery: “Some people think when you do heart surgery, you go in and can see everything. Well, to see everything, you have to slice through vital structures. Sometimes the surgeon has had to guess at what’s the best operation.”

The 14-month old, Roland, the son of Par Tha Sung and Sang Ceu Lian of Owensboro, Kentucky, U.S.A., was born with heart problems that included a hole in his heart, as well as misaligned aorta and pulmonary arteries, if left untreated, he would have died.

The engineering team behind this wonderful application of 3D printing created the model and end-use 3D print in just 20 hours on a MakerBot Replicator 2X desktop 3D printer.


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