Chennai: 3D printing technology has revolutionized various industries, and Healthcare is one of them. With this technology being implemented medically all over the world, Dr. K. M. Cherian Heart Foundation and Frontier Lifeline Hospital, has executed the same technology of 3D printing, mapping and modelling, by converting pathological specimens of complex defects digitally, for the necessary correction required in their surgical procedures.
This technology was recently used by Frontier Lifeline Hospital for a procedure, to give a new lease of life to a 19-year-old Biochemical Engineering student at IIT BHU, Varanasi, Ria Sonigara. She was diagnosed with DORV (Double Outlet Right Ventricle) with multiple VSDs and severe Pulmonary Hypertension when she was just an infant. Despite being 3 months old, Ria underwent Pulmonary Artery Banding on 28th March, 2000, under the care Dr. K. M. Cherian- pioneer of pediatric cardiac surgery in the country. Although she was doing symptomatically well with a saturation varying between 79-80 per cent, it was agreed upon to submit her for a cardiac surgery at Frontier Lifeline Hospital, due to her aged diagnosis.
Commenting on the procedure, Dr. K. M. Cherian, CEO and Chairman of Frontier Lifeline Hospital said, “A complete correction is what was contemplated for her and due to this it was necessary to have a 3D model of this complex defect. Made from high resolution 2D Echo and MRI, mending the two holes that she had in the heart and connecting the left ventricle to the Aorta (the main pumping blood vessel), was achieved by Intra-Cardiac repair. The other hole in the heart was closed separately. This complex defect was adhered to with minimal time and now she has what you call a Biventricular repair (a normal heart). We expect her to lead a healthy life with a bright future ahead of her.”
Expressing her gratitude to Dr. Cherian and the doctors who nursed her back to health, Ria said, “Dr. Cherian has known my case since I was an infant. I have gotten to know him even before I knew about his hospital in Chennai. On hearing about Frontier Lifeline Hospital, I knew my second shot was right there. He explained the entire procedure so descriptively; I did not have a second thought. The entire process was described to me using a specimen of my diagnosis through 3D printing, which extended my confidence in the surgical procedure. Post-surgery, my oxygen levels have increased and I can resume my studies with a happy and healthy heart! I will always appreciate the efforts taken by Dr. Cherian and the other doctors who helped me get my heart back the way it was always meant to be.”
3D printers create a variety of medical procedures, especially of those that include intricate geometry or features to match each individual patient’s distinctive anatomy. The first 3D modelling and correction was performed on a 4-month-old child from Bahrain on 23rd November, 2015, with complete correction of congenitally corrected transposition of the great arteries (C-TGA). The procedure was performed by employing three different types of conduits such as Dacron tube extended with bovine jugular vein and an aortic homograft.