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Coarctation of the aorta (CoA) represents a birth defect in which the aorta is narrow. If CoA is severe, the baby needs surgery. Three-dimensional printing (3D printing) is commonly used as a means of rapidly producing prototypes for manufacturing technology [1, 2]. The 3D printed heart model has accurate anatomical structure of the heart.
Eight babies diagnosed of CoA were enrolled and scanner by 3D contrast-enhanced MR angiogram. Four are in control group, and the other four are in test group of 3D printing model. For the former group, the MR angiograms are offered to both cardiothoracic surgeons and patients' parents via displays of image workstation. For the latter group, an experienced cardiologist segments the region-of-interest manually. Postprocessing was performed to remove noises and smoothness. Mimics v14.01was used to segment heart and vessels, and then to create 3D surface models in STL format. Then, we input the STL file to a 3D-printer. The printed models are available to both cardiothoracic surgeons and patients' parents. We invite them to answer a questionnare to evaluate the two kinds of treatments.
This statistics of questionnaire show that the cardiothoracic surgeons have a positive impression to use 3D printed model, mainly because the 3D printing sharply reduce the time needed for making surgery plans compared to the control group. The cardiothoracic surgeons also report the 3D printed model can show the heart structure in a more clearly way than the display, and it can show the detail of the CoA.
For the parents, they appraise the use of 3D printed model, since the preoperative communication time of 3D printing groups is significantly reduced compared to control group. They also report they understand the operative plans more easily.
The 3D printing do benefits for both surgeons and patient's parents related to coarctation of the aorta.