3D-printed heart aids life-saving surgery on US baby

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Washington: A newly developed 3D-printed heart has helped doctors perform a life-saving heart surgery on a 14-month old infant in the US.

Researchers from the University of Louisville and Kosair Children's Hospital created a 3D printed model of the organ 1.5 times its actual size that helped the surgeons to prepare for the surgery.

Built in three pieces using a flexible filament, the printing reportedly took around 20 hours and cost USD 600.

Roland Lian Cung Bawi of Owensboro, Kentucky, was born with four congenital heart defects and his doctors were looking for greater insights into his condition prior to a February 10 operation.

Philip Dydynski, chief of radiology at Kosair Children's Hospital wondered if a 3D model of the child's heart could be constructed using a template created by images from a CT scan to allow doctors to better plan and prepare for his surgery.

The result was a model heart 1.5 times the size of the child's.

Once the model was built, Erle Austin III, cardiothoracic surgeon at Louisville, was able to develop a surgical plan and complete the heart repair with only one operation.

"I found the model to be a game changer in planning to do surgery on a complex congenital heart defect," he said.

Roland was released from Kosair Children's Hospital on February 14. His prognosis is good, doctors said.