Congenital heart defects are the most common human birth defect, found in up to 2% of the population.

Case

A patient presented with post-repair of pulmonary atresia with ventricular septal defect requiring pulmonary valve replacement; due to a stenosed RV-PA conduit.

Given their history of multiple previous cardiac surgeries, a further surgery would be of significant risk, therefore a transcatheter solution was preferred.

Solution

axial3D printed a precise 1:1 replica model which allowed the surgical team to visualize the relationship of the coronary vessels to the conduit and understand the proximity between the two vascular structures.

This reduced the risk of coronary compression and potential complications when inflating balloons in the pulmonary outflow.

The main benefit I see is the improved safety margin. We are more confident to proceed with the case knowing the exact relationship between these critically important blood vessels.”

– Dr Christopher Lockhart, Consultant Cardiologist

Clinical decisions are largely made based on the appearance of the heart on imaging. Physical 3D printed models provide a heightened level of anatomical insight.

“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 DiseaseUniversity of Washington School of Medicine