The technologically advanced Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Marañón, located in Madrid, has been a 3D printing technology champion for the last several years, implementing a hospital FabLab and collaborating with several other Spanish organizations to create a 3D printer prototype that’s capable of producing functional human skin. Now, the hospital, a public health center in the Community of Madrid, has reached a new milestone, by successfully carrying out the implantation of a catheterization in a 3D printed heart. The simulation occurred during the hospital’s 23rd Pediatric Cardiology Course, which was attended by Minister of Health Jesús Sánchez Martos, for Madrid’s Ministry of Health.
The celebration was organized by the hospital and the Menudos Corazones Foundation, a nonprofit organization that carries out activities and programs to improve quality of life for children with congenital heart defects, as well as their families. During the recent Pediatric Cardiology Course celebration, which was dedicated to the families of children with heart disease, the Minister of Health made it a point to highlight this important research, which was developed by professionals working in the hospital’s Children’s Heart Area.
Last year alone, nearly 10,000 high resolution consultations and a thousand hospitalizations occurred in the Children’s Heart Area, where physicians use 3D printed heart models to work out their strategies for hemodynamic procedures before entering the operating room. The hospital itself diagnosed over 100 children with heart disease in 2016, and performed a thousand studies using fetal echocardiography. 3D printing technology, custom heart replicas in particular, has helped increase the survival of patients who suffer from congenital heart disease.
Just like a fingerprint, the unique characteristics of our hearts differ from person to person, from the size and internal cavities, to the way the organ connects with the large vessels that surround it. Thanks to 3D printed patient-specific heart models, it’s possible for doctors to really familiarize themselves with their patient’s anatomical structures before surgery, and prepare to treat congenital heart diseases. According to specialists at the Hospital Universitario Virgen del Rocio in Seville, nearly 50 years ago, only 25% of newborns diagnosed with vascular diseases survived; now, thanks to advances including 3D printed heart models and their uses in surgical intervention, nearly 90% of newborns diagnosed with these diseases make it to adulthood.Research associate Gorka Gómez Ciriza, with the Technological Innovation Group at the Hospital Universitario Virgen del Rocio, has worked with 3D printers for five years, in order to improve pre-operative planning.
Gorka Gómez said, “The more information you have on the patient’s heart shape, the easier it will be for the surgeon to succeed in the operation and the less chance of complications and risk.”
MRI and CT images are used to help generate these 3D replicas, by recreating the exact shape of the patient’s heart. This way, doctors and surgeons are able to figure out the best way to approach the procedure before attempting it on the operating table. The development of flexible 3D printing filaments back in 2013 improved both the application and the results of these patient-specific models. Last year, technology company BQ donated a Witbox 2 3D printer to the Hospital Universitario Virgen del Rocio, so it could continue improving upon its 3D printed heart models.
Gorka Gómez explained, “This innovation allowed us to start working with new specialties such as childhood heart disease, the area where we have the most impact.”
In its continuing commitment to technological innovation for the healthcare of children who have heart disease, the Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Marañón successfully tested the catheter device, which would eventually be implanted in a young patient, in a 3D printed heart. In addition to this successful simulation, the hospital’s Pediatric Cardiology Course held a variety of interactive workshops for the young patients and their families, including oral hygiene, soap-making and hand hygiene, and even one where the children worked with SUMMA 112 technicians to learn the ins and outs of CPR.
The Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Marañón is one of Madrid’s Centers for Services and Reference Units (CSUR) in the country’s National Health System (SNS). Discuss in the Madrid forum at 3DPB.com.[Sources: Antenna 3 TV, ConSalud / Images: ConSalud, unless otherwise noted]