Materialise Mimics software as the standard for CHD models
The authors based themselves on 136 studies that reflected the use of 3D imaging in hospital environments. The eligibility criteria specified that the study had to report on the development of a patient-specific cardiovascular model that was derived from medical images, which was then 3D printed afterwards. Both manual and semi-automatic segmentation methods were taken into account. According to the review, Materialise Mimics proved to be the most frequently used software by far, and was mentioned in 49 separate studies. No other software was mentioned in more than six reports. In 18 records, authors had developed their own algorithm or relied on a procedure developed by a collaborator. The segmentation software was not specified in 63 reports. Due to the complex anatomy of congenital hearts, segmentation can be challenging. The reported segmentation times of the whole heart range between two to three hours.
User-friendly image segmentation software for clinicians
Dr. Byrne and his team concluded that there were still obstacles for the easy integration of 3D visualization in a hospital environment. The authors stated that “image segmentation is frequently laborious and user-dependent due to its reliance on expertise in both congenital heart disease morphology and image processing. Additionally, the hours that can be spent completing a complex segmentation are often incompatible with the workload of clinical staff.”