Newborn baby miraculously saved by a 3D-printed heart

The life of a 2-week-old baby was saved when surgeons used a 3D-printed model of the baby's heart to operate on the child. Does science rock or what? The newborn had a congenital heart defect with holes and deformation of his heart chambers. Instead of stopping the heart to take a look at the situation as is typically done, doctors were able to create a plastic model of it using MRI data. They were then able to create a plan of action before going into surgery.

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Doctors at the Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital in New York used funding from Matthew Hearts of Hope to create the teeny plastic replica of the child's heart. The model displayed all the deformities on the baby's heart, which had maze-like valves and holes. This provided a map for the doctors who were then able to operate on the baby without needing to go in half-blind. The surgery was conducted by Dr. Emilie Bacha, head of cardiac surgery at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, this past July.

It's wonderful to hear that advancements in science and technology are making it possible for such feats to happen and I'm sure this baby's parents are thrilled that their child's life was saved thanks to 3D printing. Now this baby has another chance to go forth and grow up to hopefully live a full and healthy life.

I'd heard of some cool creative projects that have come out of 3D printers like equipment, sculptures, and other art installations, but to hear that doctors are now using it to save lives is amazing news. Who knows where this might lead in the coming years? Treatment and surgeries could be more exact if doctors knew exactly what they will encounter in their patient's body without having them undergo invasive procedures beforehand and artificial pieces could be perfectly tailored to the person's needs. And wishful thinking here, but perhaps one day we could even print out a new organ or body part that will eliminate the endless waiting some patients have to do in order to live a better life. Now wouldn't that be something?

Imagen vía Corbis Images

Topics: babies  health  inspiration  surgery