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Young Heart Patients Saved With 3D Printing Help

Three patients with complex heart problems have just been given a new lease of life, thanks to the technology of 3D printing.

Hari Krishna, 19, Izam Azeez, 15, and 2-month old Ram suffered from heart problems that were so complicated and severe that they were reaching life-threatening levels. Yet, conventional scanning methods were unable to yield the details needed for doctors to operate with confidence.

Dr Mahesh Kappanayil, Professor of Pediatric Cardiology at the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS), in Kochi, Kerala, told Ginkgo3D this: “CT-scans and even MRI scans fall short of providing a full spatial 3D understanding of the heart defects.

“After opening the patient, the surgeon uses up precious time to orient himself to the abnormalities and plan surgery, with the patient on the heart-lung machine.

“With 3D Printing technology, the doctors were able to print out exact replicas of the hearts, enabling them to study each subject thoroughly before the actual operations. With technical help from Materialise, and armed with this new deep understanding of their hearts, the surgeons at AIMS successfully operated on all three patients in August 2015.

AIMS had received the prestigious British Medical Journal (India) Award for Excellence in 2014 for striving to provide world-class cardiac care to patients with congenital heart disease, despite limited resources. This was another feather in the cap of the Institute.

Dr Mahesh, who is also Clinical Professor at the Department of Pediatric Cardiology, added: “All three patients are doing very well after their surgery. Izam is doing things he likes, like going out and watching movies, and Krishna – who was a 3D printing hobbyist even before his operation – is already building a new 3D printer at home.

“Maybe we will get his help when our own hospital begins to develop a 3D printing facility. We are sure he will contribute to the development of 3D printing technology and applications here in future.”

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