Case Studies Anatomical Heart

Enabling a 60-minute reduction in pediatric surgery with a 3D printed anatomical model

Case Study
  • Cardiology

The Case

A baby girl presented with atrioventricular (AV) and ventriculoarterial (VA) discordance - a complex type of heart lesion that accounts for less than 1% of infants with congenital heart disease - alongside a ventricular septal defect (VSD) with pulmonary stenosis (PS). 2D imaging made it difficult for her surgeon to visualize the full extent of the problem, making it much harder for him to plan with the accuracy needed for a corrective procedure.


A 3D model of the baby’s heart was ordered from Axial3D to aid the surgeon's visualization of the problem in greater detail. The surgeon was particularly keen to understand the relationship of great arteries to the VSD, and to gain a clearer understanding of how to best close the VSD to the aorta without compromising the AV valve function or developing a left ventricular outflow obstruction.

“It [The 3D model] is the best resemblance of the heart, which can change in appearance from looking at a CT to looking at the real life heart in theatre. Having a 3D model in advance for planning allows all members of the team to have the one view on the patient's heart.”

Benefits of using the 3D Model

The additional detail provided by the model transformed the surgeon’s understanding and fundamentally gave him the confidence to agree and proceed with the specific planned approach alongside the clinical team in advance of the surgery, rather than having to carry multiple options into the theatre. The higher level of confidence and additional insights provided by the model enabled the team to pre-select only the equipment needed in the operating room. Additionally, it resulted in a 60-minute reduction in overall procedure time, thus dramatically reducing the risk of infection for a vulnerable young infant.

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