Over 500 new borns in the United Arab Emirates are born with heart problems each year. Dr. Laszlo Kiraly and his paediatric team at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC) have been utilising 3D printed models to virtually perform surgery in order to reduce this rate to below 1%. This hands on planning technique with the use of 3D printed models is saving 500 children every year.
The most commonly heard of heart diseases include issues like holes in the atrium of the heart, narrowing or twisting of the aorta and ventricles that have been abnormally formed.
Approximately 75% of babies with such heart diseases need an operation in order to survive while a further 25-30% of those require additional operations to keep the heart working. Surgery of any nature on such a small person is an extremely delicate operation. Doctors must minimise risk in every way possible. 3D printing allows doctors to plan a procedure for a specific patient by taking scans of the heart, making 3D parts of the abnormalities and printing an accurate reproduction.
In a recent case a patient was born with her heart on the right which left little room for the formation of the lungs. The team decided that a virtual approach was the best option. Dr. Kiraly says, “We came up with a solution on how to drive the connection inside the heart without being compressed. This is something we couldn’t have done without the model.”
Since 2015, the paediatric team have been successfully using 3D printed models to plan and conduct operations of the heart of new borns.