Georgia and Piedmont Institutes create 3D Heart models

Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology and the Piedmont Heart Institute are using standard medical imaging and new 3-D printing technologies to create patient-specific heart valve models that mimic the physiological qualities of the real valves. Their aim is to improve the success rate of transcatheter aortic valve replacements (TAVR) by picking the right prosthetic and avoiding a common complication known as paravalvular leakage.

The researchers, whose study was published July 3 in the journal JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging, found that the models, created from CT scans of the patients’ hearts, behaved so similarly to the real ones that they could reliably predict the leakage.

The researchers plan to continue to optimize the metamaterial design and 3-D printing process and evaluate the use of the 3-D printed valves as a pre-surgery planning tool, testing a larger number of patient-specific models and looking for ways to further refine their analytic tools.