3D printing from standard imaging allows precise tests of replacement heart valves

Blood leakage is a common complication in patients who’ve had a heart valve replaced with a prosthetic. Soon these patients may benefit by getting their new valves tested, pre-implantation, via 3D “printouts” of their unique valvular tissue rendered from standard heart imaging.

Research into the possibility is ongoing at Georgia Institute of Technology and the Piedmont Heart Institute, according to a feature article posted by Georgia Tech.

“In preparing to conduct a valve replacement, interventional cardiologists already weigh a variety of clinical risk predictors, but our 3D printed model gives us a quantitative method to evaluate how well a prosthetic valve fits the patient,” says Zhen Qian, PhD, chief of cardiovascular imaging at Piedmont.

The 3D printout would give interventionalists control over patient- and design-specific variables that might cause the prosthetic valves to leak following transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR).

The researchers have shown their technique can mimic conditions that can lead to leaking, down to the level of patient-specific calcium deposition and arterial wall stiffness.

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