3D Printed Hearts to Help Educate Patients and Physicians
3D Printing Case – Medical
In the endeavour to advance our understanding of how the human heart works, The University of Minnesota Visible Heart Lab has started characterizing functional and static anatomies of regular and infected specimens. With the aid of 3D printing and modeling technologies, this undertaking has expanded from the visualization of reanimated hearts to studying over 400 specimen models that are housed in the lab’s human heart library. This collection is made available for viewing and study to students, educators, academicians, clinicians and industry researchers upon request.
The Visible Heart Lab at the University of Minnesota has been lead by Dr. Paul Iaizzo since 1990. With a focus on translational systems physiology and outreach education, the Lab collaborates with Medtronic for advanced research.
Since 1996, Dr. Iaizzo and his team have tasked themselves with reanimating disconnected heart models of large mammals, including the reanimation of 75 human hearts to date. These hearts were donated for research study from LifeSource in Minneapolis and were recovered from organ donors deemed unfeasible to transplant. Multimodal images of functional cardiac anatomy through the heart were compiled during the initial few hours of the reanimation process. Acting as a second to none educational platform for identifying and understanding cardiac structures, the images and videos were publicly uploaded onto the Atlas of Human Cardiac Anatomy website, which also provides educational tutorials, MRI & CT DICOM files and 3D models.
The Visible Heart Lab credits 3D printing technology in playing a crucial role towards the success and development of their outreach and educational mission. 3D printed models have been used by physicians at various scientific gatherings around the world to not only teach patient education but to also understand complex anatomies of many pediatric cases. Students trained within the Visible Heart Lab program are given the opportunity to design 3D models of heart specimens and cardiac structures to achieve a better understanding and a deeper knowledge for the human cardiac anatomy.
Dr. Iaizzo understands the value of 3D printing technology and believes it has the ability to equip students with the best tools for education. The technology allows them to learn the entire process from scanning the hearts to printing models through 3D printing software. If you are interested in exploring 3D printing solutions for your business, get in touch with our additive manufacturing experts to receive a free quote here