Tens of thousands of patients are diagnosed with heart valve disease each year. Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) is often the ideal solution for patients who are at risk for complications with open-heart surgeries to replace the valve. This is due to potential leakage occurring when a new valve doesn’t achieve an exact fit and causes blood to flow backwards around the prosthetic. Paravalvular leakage (PVL) is an important indicator of how well the patient will react with the new valve in both short and long-term scenarios.
3D model of aortic valve viewed from the aorta and left ventricle (LEFT). TARV deployed in 3D model viewed from aorta and left ventricle (RIGHT)
Using Polyjet 3D printing technology, medical staff can produce 3D patient-specific models while incorporating a variety of material combinations including hardness, pliability that visually replicates an anatomical model with the tactile feel of aortic tissue. Creating these models using metamaterial design and multi-material 3D printing takes into account the mechanical behavior of the heart valves, replicating the natural strain-stiffening behavior of soft tissues that comes from the interaction between elastin and collagen, two proteins found in heart valves.
Even though valve replacement procedures are quite mature, there are still cases where selecting a different size prosthetic or different manufacturer could improve the outcome. 3D printing is essential to determining which one. As additive manufacturing technology grows, 3D printing will play a more vital role in patient-specific planning, especially for heart procedures. Physicians will be able to better select the right devices, assess risks, optimize techniques, and practice for rare and difficult cases.
If you are interested in exploring 3D printing solutions in healthcare, download our guidebooks here https://goo.gl/2g7oxy