Using 3D printing technology to create replicas of the human heart presents the opportunity to save babies' lives, according to a new study submitted to the American Heart Association. Surgeons have the ability to better treat congenital heart defects, while also being able to strategize where they cut tissue and make other improvements.
The ability to 3D print hearts gives surgeons the opportunity to prepare prior to surgery, but it's unsure if heart replicas will help increase success from surgical outcomes. A clinical trial would give medical experts the chance to work on enough cases to see how 3D-printed hearts could help, especially among young children with complicated heart defects.
"From the first two cases straight out of the gate, we've had this dramatic impact," said Dr. Matthew Bramlet, pediatric cardiologist at the University of Illinois College of Medicine and Children's Hospital of Illinois and study co-author.