Stella Pahinis March 28, 2017

The Children’s Memorial Health Institute is one of the largest specialist pediatric hospitals in Poland. Their medical team takes on highly rare and difficult cases of congenital heart disease, and innovative technologies are essential in solving these challenging cases.

In 2015, the renowned Polish pediatric cardiologist Prof. Grażyna Brzezińska-Rajszys, MD, PhD and Adam Koleśnik, MD – pediatric cardiologist and cardiovascular morphologist, took the lead in setting up a fully equipped 3D lab at the hospital, as they are active in medical research and champions of incorporating innovative solutions that will improve the care provided by the institute.

The Pediatric Cardiology Department has been using Medical 3D Printing and anatomical models in patient treatments for over a year now, since Materialise travelled to Poland to help set up the 3D printing workflow and train the team on site. 20 3D-printed hearts and many virtual anatomical models later, the 3D lab continues to be very productive.

 

Materialise Mimics helps find the heart of the problem

In the Children’s Memorial Health Institute 3D lab, CT scans are converted into accurate 3D anatomical models by using our dedicated software, Materialise Mimics. This results in a 3D PDF file that can be viewed on screen and a 3D printable file for the actual printing.

Medical 3D Printing enhances pre-surgical visualization, a new necessity in planning the best surgical strategy. Having a 3D model of the pathology provides a detailed perspective of the patient's anatomy, helping to assess relationships between anatomical structures.

 

The value of 3D anatomical models

“It's in pre-surgical planning, or interventional planning and decision-making where we see the greatest added value of 3D anatomical models”

– says Dr. Koleśnik.

The comprehensive understanding they provide helps the medical team assess treatment decisions and plan for surgeries, and answer questions put forward by other clinicians.

 

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After one year Dr. Koleśnik has defined pathologies where 3d printing in the medical field is a definitive part of the process:

Complex cases such as double outlet right ventricle (DORV) cases, muscular ventricular septal defects (VSD), common arterial trunks, coarctations and melody valve procedures.

 

 

3D PDFs bring valuable perspective

Dr. Koleśnik explains that even seeing a 3D virtual model can help when discussing cases among the team and sometimes changes the original surgical strategy for a specific patient. This also led him to introduce 3D PDFs as part of their standard medical documentation.

“There's an increase in demand for 3D PDFs from the medical team.  We share the files daily because my team sees the value this advanced visualization brings”

– says Dr. Koleśnik.

Clearly, 3D advanced visualization has changed the hospital's daily practice and has brought a new and insightful dimension to working together.

 

Setting up a 3D printing lab

“Working with medically cleared software is essential”, says Dr. Koleśnik. He advises doing relevant research before setting up a 3D printing lab in house. There should be an evaluation of how many difficult cases your hospital deals with. If the cases are not that many, outsourcing to a 3D printing service like Materialise HeartPrint might be a better-suited option.

 

The value of connection

The value of 3D Print healthcare has surpassed its expected benefits. It brings connection. The pediatric cardiology team of the Children’s Memorial Health Institute uses anatomical models to communicate with parents. This personal and insightful approach makes it easier for patients and their families to understand and accept the treatment process.

Interested to learn how Medical 3D Printing contributes to Pediatric Cardiology? Take the next step and get in touch with one of our experts.

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