An exact 3D model of heart hot off the printer

June 30, 2015 12:00 am | Updated 05:52 am IST - Washington:

Researchers, one of Indian-origin, have produced the first 3D anatomic model of a patient’s heart using two common imaging techniques, aiming to enhance diagnosis and surgical planning.

The 3D model printing of patients’ hearts has become more common in recent years as part of an emerging, experimental field devoted to enhanced visualisation of individual cardiac structures and characteristics.

But this is the first time the integration of computed tomography (CT) and 3D transesophageal echocardiography (3DTEE) has been used for printing a hybrid 3D model of a patient’s heart.

Multiple imaging

“Hybrid 3D printing integrates the best aspects of two or more imaging modalities, which can potentially enhance diagnosis, as well as interventional and surgical planning,” says Jordan Gosnell, from Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in the U.S. and lead author of the study.

“Previous methods of 3D printing utilise only one imaging modality, which may not be as accurate as merging two or more datasets,” he said.

The team used specialised software to register images from the two imaging modalities to integrate datasets selectively to produce an accurate anatomic model of the heart. The result creates more detailed and anatomically accurate 3D renderings and printed models, which may enable physicians to better diagnose and treat heart disease.

CT and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are established imaging tools for producing 3D printable models.

The 3DTEE recently was reported by Joseph Vettukattil and his Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital colleagues to be a feasible imaging technique to generate 3D printing in congenital heart disease.

Mr. Vettukattil, senior author of the study, and his colleagues says each imaging tool has different strengths, which can improve and enhance 3D printing.

3DTEE provides the best visualisation of valve anatomy, Mr. Vettukattil says.

“This is a huge leap for individualised medicine in cardiology and congenital heart disease,” he says.


Indian-origin researcher is senior author of study, which combined CT and 3DTEE imaging

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