Monday, 19 October 2015

How a 3 D Printer Changed a 4-Year Old's Heart and Life

3D printed heart

Mia’s Malformation Treated With 3-D Printer

Mia Gonzalez who had been suffering from malformation in her aorta, the vessel that pumps blood from the heart, had to spend the first three and a half years of her life missing on most of the activities in life. She had to miss out on day care as well as dance classes due to the condition of colds and pneumonia.

When she was unable to go out and play, she was easily breathless and had to take multiple asthma medication to aid in the breathing. After around 10 hospital stay she had been diagnosed of this ailment. This four year old was in need of an operation to block off the part of her aorta which was putting pressure on her windpipe, making it hard to breathe, swallow and get rid of phlegm whenever she got a cold.

Mia’s mother, Katherine Gonzalez informed that they got out, thinking that she had asthma only to be told that she needed to undergo open heart surgery. However, her malformations seemed to be complicating. The surgeons at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, treating Mia would have been apprehensive regarding the process if it was not for the new technology, the 3-D printer

Printer Use Images From MRI/CT Scan Images as Templates

The hospital had obtained a 3-D printer, earlier in the year, which makes the exact models of organs which the doctors could use to plan surgery as well as practice operations. The printer then to use images from patients’ MRI or CT scan images as template and lays down layers of rubber or plastic.

The director of paediatric cardiovascular surgery at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, Dr Redmond Burke, considered the model of Mia’s heart for couple of weeks and showed it to his colleagues for their contribution regarding the same. He even carried it in his gym bag for quick reference.

He finally had the right insight and instead of making an incision on the left side of this kind of heart defect, known as double aortic arch, he cut into Mia’s chest from the right. Burke informed that without the model he would have been less certain about Mia’s operation and that would have led him in making a larger incision which would cause more pain with longer recovery time. He added that using the model there was no room for doubt and surgeons dislike doubts.

Model Saved Team/Patient – 2 Hours in Operation Theatre

He points that the model saved the team as well as the patient about two hours in the operation theatre since he was capable of having a clearer plan in performing the surgery. Though 3-D printers had been clinically utilised for the last 20 or 25 years in making prototypes for surgical tools as well as other usages, it only began with simulated organs in the last few years, according to Rader.

 Surgeons had utilised the simulated organs for preparing all types of complicated surgeries like the surgery to remove a brain tumour or to correct a severe cleft palate, informs Rader. He further adds that, doctors could operate on them with regular surgical tools again and again till they found the optimal way of doing the surgery.

 For Mia, four months thereafter, her mother informed that the surgery seemed like ancient history to her and she had forgotten all about the surgical scar and had little pain. Though she had some minor colds, none had given her reason to be in the hospital and a month later she was also in a position to participate in her dance performance

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