3D Model Guides Heart Valve Replacement

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The use of 3D printers in medicine is growing nationwide 
Now doctors in Ohio are using the technology to tailor heart valve replacements for patients… to predict and avoid complications.  

For years, doctors monitored 78-year-old Bernice  Belcher for a heart murmur… but last year it got worse. 
"I couldn't' stand tall, because if I did I got real dizzy," Belcher says.

Turns out she had a blocked artery and severe aortic valve stenosis, restricting blood flow to the heart.  Her diseased valve needed to be replaced. 

Using 3-D printers, physicians and biomedical engineers at Ohio State created a 3D model of Bernice's aorta . Then they use a heart simulator to pump transparent blood through the model to see what works best. 
"3D printing lets us exactly asses the unique anatomy and physiology of each patient, and then we are able to test different valves," explains Dr. Lakshmi Dasi of Ohio State University.

In Bernice's case the simulation showed a less invasive catheter procedure would not work to replace her valve.
"Once the physicians were able to see this possible adverse outcome. They also explored other options, but eventually the discussion lead to the best option being traditional open heart surgery," Dr. Dasi says. 

"I feel when I think about things now, that I was a walking time bomb.   I don't have no shortness of breath. I have not had any pain or anything," Belcher says. 

(Tracy Townsend, CBS News) 

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