Researchers create 3D-printed heart-valve that mimics and works like real one
Using a multi-material 3D-printer, researchers at the Georgia Tech manufacturing Institute claims to have gained a breakthrough in creating exact, functional replica of human-heart valves. The 3D-printed valve accurately mimics physiological properties of the tissue. It behaves like the original valve and can prove to be a milestone in treatment of aortic stenosis – a condition in which the valves in the left side of the hear narrow, restricting blood flow and trigger a heart failure. Elderly people are more vulnerable to development of this condition.
The researchers used data from CT scans to create valves of various sizes to facilitate finding a suitable size for different individuals based on gender and age. The team of researchers focused in delivering a new tool for planning procedure for treatment of millions of patients suffering from aortic stenosis. These valves are minimally invasive procedure called transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). In this process doctors use a catheter as a prosthetic heart valve and replaces the impaired valve with it.
The results are quite encouraging. Our printed model is able to tell you before the procedure how much paravalvular leakage there will be and where it is, a good indicator for short- and long-term mortality,
said Zhen Qian, chief of Cardiovascular Imaging Research at Piedmont Heart Institute.
There is big potential for these models. We’re thinking in the future, this may be a standard tool for pre-surgery planning and for training new surgeons,
he further added.
The researchers are also scanning for possibility of embedding sensors into the valve to facilitate accurate monitoring of the artificial valve and tissues in its surroundings. Researchers have printed over a dozen of hearts and they are ready to continue to study new images and date from patients who have already undergone the procedure to enhance their existing prototypes. In brief, the researchers are on their way to creating artificial organs for humans.