A female patient presented with severe mitral annular calcification which required surgical intervention in order to fit a new mitral valve. The surgeon had devised a plan to approach the mitral valve through the left atrium, and the radiologist provided CT imagery to show this view. However, it turned out that it was a mirror-image of the anatomy, and did not give the accurate anatomical representation required by the surgeon. 

With such complex anatomical structures and the presence of bulky calcium deposits surrounding them, the surgeon needed to fully understand the degree of calcification, visualize the coronary arteries in situ, and conceptualize the relationship between these vital anatomical structures – all before stepping foot in the operating room.

A 3D print was ordered to replicate the exact anatomy with all of these attributes and enable a more specific and accurate plan for the procedure ahead of time. The surgeon requested the model in clear resin with the coronary arteries and calcium deposits colored in contrast, and with cuts at the atrial level to allow the surgeon to visualize the valve in the orientation that he would see in the operating room.

The 3D model transformed the surgeon’s view of the patient’s heart. The enhanced view of the patient’s anatomy enabled the surgeon to change his original approach and highlighted precisely the areas that he needed to be aware of, such as the aortic valve cusps and coronary arteries. The model provided a perfect representation of the relationship between the cardiac structures and pathology, ensured the patient’s safety was at the core of all surgical decisions during planning and supported the surgeon to achieve a successful outcome.