FEB 26, 2016 5:39 PM PST

3D Printing Makes Models of Heart Disease Better Than Ever

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker
Heart disease is the leading cause of death nationally and globally. Using the most advanced 3D printing technology, scientists are one step closer to better, more effective treatments and preventions.

"No two arteries are shaped the same. We're all different, with arteries that have different branches and sizes, tapering from larger to smaller,” said lead author and University of Melbourne Associate Professor Peter Barlis. “And much like debris accumulates along a riverbank, plaque can cling to certain areas of a person's artery. So this technology really gives us a clearer picture of those areas.”
 
A 3D Printed Artery


Using a supercomputer with a super-high resolution camera called “optical coherence technology,” scientists from the University of Melbourne have created an enormously useful tool for doctors. They have produced exquisite models of heart disease, designed from and for the patients who need answers for their conditions.

What stent should I use? This is a common question heart surgeons ask themselves when deciding how to treat a blocked blood vessel. With images gathered during a routine angiogram, an x-ray test to test for artery blockage, scientists created a 3D-printed artery from the supercomputer to help them diagnose their patients (American Heart Association).

Doctors can also detect “hotspots” for plaque build-up, an important step in preventing dangerous cardiac events like heart attacks. Barlis hopes to “tailor devices to fit [each patient] perfectly.” His study was published in the European Heart Journal.

This new technology creates a unique opportunity for doctors to hold extremely specific heart models in their hands, enabling them to diagnose more accurately than ever. As 3D printing technology enhances, scientists can only dream about what is to come for its applications in science.
 

Source: University of Melbourne
About the Author
  • I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
You May Also Like
JUN 23, 2019
Health & Medicine
JUN 23, 2019
Can Sauna Sessions Replace Exercise?
A moderate sauna session after a workout or spa treatment can be quite relaxing. A new study from Germany's Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (...
JUN 24, 2019
Genetics & Genomics
JUN 24, 2019
Genetic Predictors of a Failing Heart
Scientists have discovered a gene, PPP1R3A, that may be the ultimate protection against heart failure.  Evidence shows that once this gene turns on, i...
JUL 29, 2019
Drug Discovery & Development
JUL 29, 2019
Medications Used for Atrial fibrillation May Increase Falls
Falls among older adults are a growing health concern that often lead to injury, hospitalization, and other severe complications. Older adults are even at...
AUG 01, 2019
Cardiology
AUG 01, 2019
Avoiding Sugar In Unexpected Places
Most people are under the false impression that what they eat is healthy. There is such a disconnect between the processed, prepackaged foods we eat today ...
AUG 01, 2019
Cardiology
AUG 01, 2019
Preventing Sarcopenia In Older Adults
The loss of muscle mass associated with aging, called sarcopenia, begins at about age 30 and continues throughout an individual's lifespan. This muscle...
SEP 18, 2019
Cardiology
SEP 18, 2019
Clear, Flexible Vital Sign Wearable Monitors
Wearable health monitors are gaining in popularity, both for fitness tracking and for gathering more targeted health data relating to heart disease and oth...
Loading Comments...