A new-born baby girl on day one of life presented with antenatal diagnosis of coronary artery fistula to the coronary sinus. On echocardiography, the anatomy of the fistula and of the left atrium (LA) was difficult to demonstrate because of the small size of the coronary vessels. Therefore, a 3D printed model of the newborn’s heart was requested to assist her surgeons in planning for treatment.


The 3D anatomical model gave enhanced insights of the left atrium by demonstrating the distortion by the fistula, and also clearly showed the serpiginous course followed by the fistula. Having access to the model gave clinicians a greater understanding, than otherwise possible, of the mechanics of the fistula behind the indented left atrium, causing an obstruction to the mitral valve.

The 3D printed anatomical model was split to the clinician’s specification, following spending time with the radiologist to understand the best plane to visualise the patient’s anatomy. By splitting the model precisely in the location as seen in the model above, clinicians were able to see and understand the mitrial valve in much more detail. This level of insight would have been nearly impossible to visualise through 2D CT images alone.

By working closely to the clinician’s specification, Medical Visualisation Engineers at Axial3D were able to produce a high-quality 3D printed model of the patient’s anatomy that worked perfectly with other tools in the operating theatre. Having access to the 3D model gave the clinicians a greater understanding of the patient’s anatomy prior to the surgery.

No complications were reported during the surgery and the clinician said that the patient had a perfect surgical result.


“3D printing is a transformative technology that is affecting key aspects of CHD care. As a planning and simulation tool, if offers the promise of more precise surgery with fewer complications. For training, 3D models can reduce the learning curve and increase opportunities for procedural practice.

The models can facilitate communication among multidisciplinary teams, thus potentially reducing medical errors. They can increase engagement of patients and families, thereby enhancing shared decision making. Finally, 3D models can lead to medical breakthroughs by enabling basic science, translational, and clinical investigations.”

– Abstract from 3D Printing is a Transformative Technology in Congenital Heart Disease – University of Washington School of Medicine

Axial3D makes it easy for you to access patient-specific 3D printed models. We can create and ship a 3D printed model from your 2D CT or MRI images within 48 hours – allowing you to focus on what matters most, your patients.

Request a free personalized 3D model today and experience the benefits for yourself.