It seems not a week goes by without 3D printing offering a new promising development in medical and health applications. The latest is the case of a 16-year-old patient from Ohio who, after being born with a heart tumour, has undergone crucial intervention in the form of 3D printed heart model from Materialise.
Bradley White spent the early part of his childhood undergoing open heart surgery which included having a defibrillator implanted to protect him from sudden cardiac death.
Materialise got involved when Dr. Michael Taylor, Director of Advanced Imaging at The Heart Institute, contacted the team to create a 3D-printed HeartPrint Flex model of Bradley’s heart and tumour to help them further understand Bradley's condition.
Materialise cardiovascular specialist, Todd Pietila, created a 3D model from a CT scan of Bradley’s heart. The image was then uploaded in to the Mimics Innovation Suite software, where Todd was able to highlight the heart and tumour. Using both a hard opaque material to represent the tumour and a flexible transparent material for the rest of the heart, the image was then successfully 3D printed.
The printed structure helped specialists to inspect the tumour in more detail which led to the realisation that to simply remove the tumour would be too risky. Instead, they found that a series of ablations would prove more effective in helping stop the electrical interference Bradley’s heart was experiencing from the tumour, causing his heart rate to increase at an erratic pace.
This model also played a vital role in helping Bradley to better understand his condition. By seeing a physical model, he was able to see just how big the tumour was and in his own words says: “I’m looking forward to showing my friends.”