3D Printed Models of Complex Anatomy in Cardiovascular Disease

Zhonghua Sun* and Andrew Squelch

3D Printed Models of Complex Anatomy in Cardiovascular Disease.

Three-dimensional (3D) printing technology has undergone rapid developments over the last decades. The application of 3D printing has reached beyond the engineering field to medicine, with research showing many applications in cardiovascular disease. Due to the complexity of the cardiovascular system, application of 3D printing technology has shown potential value to benefit patients with cardiovascular disease. This mini-review provides an overview of applications of 3D printing in cardiovascular disease, with evidence of some of examples using patient-specific 3D printed models in the two common cardiovascular diseases, aortic dissection and abdominal aortic aneurysm.

The expanded applications of this technology to cardiovascular disease allow for rapid generation of 3D complex anatomical structures from medical imaging datasets such as echocardiography, Computed Tomography (CT) or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) data of patients. This editorial provides an overview of current applications of 3D printing in cardiovascular disease.

3D physical models may be printed in a variety of materials using different 3D printing technologies, depending on the application purposes, such as education or training, surgical
planning, device sizing or diagnostic testing, etc. Each of these technologies has its own advantages and limitations. Table 1 summarizes the currently available 3D printing technologies using different materials with corresponding clinical applications. The materials available from these technologies have different properties, minimum wall thicknesses and maximum part sizes, which also influences the material or technology selected for a particular purpose.

Furthermore, 3D printing technology enables the manufacture of personalized cardiac stents to reduce the rate of in-stent restenosis, optimize designs of biological scaffolds for tissue engineering of cardiac valves for valve replacement, and fabrication of human microvasculature for organ transplantation.

Heart Res Open J. 2015; 2(3): 103-108.doi: 10.17140/HROJ-2-118