Such systems can be useful in various diseases
Although fully functional 3D-printed organs are a very distant future, scientists already know how to create a device simulating the organs and tissues, and on the basis of this experience the team from the University of Georgia have learned how to print heart valves fully suitable for the size of the patient.
Such systems can be useful when you have different diseases, but in this case, the researchers were focused on helping patients aortic stenosis, a condition where the left ventricle of the heart contracts and heart, this becomes harder to pump blood, eventually it leads to heart failure.
At the moment, with this disease it is customary to deal with transcatheter implantation of the aortic valve, it is convenient because the surgeon does not need to make large incisions and open heart, such an operation brings less trouble children and the elderly, as they are experiencing such operation easier and recover much faster.
But there is one problem — the selection of the prosthetic valve, despite the fact that produced a huge number of different sizes of dentures, every implant may be appropriate. 3D printing offers to create the required dimensions of the valves by the standards taken from the man.
“The issue is that, all people are different,” says Professor Chuck Zhang: “Men will differ from women. This is a big problem for doctors, for correct selection of prosthesis for a particular patient.”
Using the capabilities of 3D printing, scientists can tweak the details to create an exact copy of a natural valve that is stretched and “lives” along with a heart. Even scientists can recreate the conditions in heart to test a particular valve to understand how it will behave, for example, in the presence of calcium deposits.
Already, the team has printed twenty models on the basis of data collected from patients, however due to the fact that the method is not yet tested, they are not used for implantation. Researchers need to spend several years on proof of the necessity of this technique and its actual use.
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