MIT engineers have created a method using 3d printing that allows doctors to provide patients with care that is unique to each heart.
The heart is one of the most important organs in the body, but it is also susceptible to many dangers. With nearly 18 million deaths per year,
cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the leading cause of death worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.
Unfortunately, since every heart is unique, general solutions still necessitate some degree of customization.
MIT engineers have developed a technique that will allow doctors to provide patients with care that is unique to each heart.
The MIT team is using 3D printing to produce replica hearts made of supple,
malleable materials that precisely replicate how a patient’s ticker pumps.
The measurements are created using medical imaging,
and the team can print an exact duplicate of the heart and,
if necessary, the aorta. built from a polymer-based ink that, after curing,
“can squeeze and stretch, similarly to a real beating heart,”
according to the research team.
The researchers also created a process that can simulate how blood pumps through the heart and even see how it is constricting using pneumatic systems.
Medical professionals hope that with the 365-degree view,
they will one day be able to fix the printed heart with things like valves and test out various placements to see what works and fits each patient the best.
According to MIT, both medical researchers and the medical device industry could use the hearts for testing purposes. The 3D printed version could facilitate this.
Since all hearts are unique, as graduate student Luca Rosalia of the MIT-Harvard Program in Health Sciences and Technology puts it,
it will ultimately improve accuracy and understanding of variability.