Radhika Dhuru October 22, 2015

Disclaimer: 3D-printed anatomical models for diagnostic use created with MIS/Mimics are not commercially available in the US, Australia and Canada.

19-year-old Krishna from Kochi, India, wasn’t like most teenagers: with a passion for innovation, he had assembled his own 3D printer from a DIY kit. Also unlike most teenagers, Krishna wasn’t able to attend high school. Suffering from a complex congenital heart disease his whole life, Krishna’s frequent attacks of breathlessness kept him away from most normal activities for others of his age, and the problems only kept getting worse with time. What Krishna didn’t know was that his hobby for 3D Printing would turn out to be a peculiar coincidence: a heart print, 3D-printed replica of Krishna’s heart, was used by Dr. Mahesh Kappanayil this summer to successfully conduct a challenging cardiac intervention and give Krishna a new life. Like Krishna, 15-year-old Izam also suffered from a complex congenital heart condition that severely affected his lifestyle. Both teenagers were operated by a surgical team at the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS), Kochi, this summer.

After a long wait: Materialise HeartPrint

Krishna and Izam’s cases had both been turned down by hospitals before as “too complicated” for surgery. That was until Dr. Mahesh took up the cases. A medical engineering team at Materialise used the Mimics Innovation Suite software to convert the patients’ medical images into 3D models. After a validation check with Dr. Mahesh, through multiple web-meetings and exchanges of 3D PDFs, the models were printed at Materialise. With Materialise’s 3D-printed replicas of the young patients’ hearts, the surgeons were able to visualize the complex cardiac defects, formulate a detailed pre-operative plan, and rehearse it on the models. This helped reduce the chances of any variables causing damaging surprises in the operating room. Armed with a never-before-seen perspective into the defects, the surgeons operated successfully on both patients, giving them the opportunity to live lives that are no longer dictated by their heart conditions. “Sometimes, all the traditional ways of evaluating and planning treatment still fall short,” says Dr. Mahesh. “Using these models to actually look ‘inside’ the heart, understand the lesions and plan the operations much before the actual surgery was a definite game-changer. I’m proud to be an early adopter of 3D Printing for medical applications in India.” So are we!