DeVos Children's Hospital Medical Team Crafts Anatomically Accurate 3-D Heart


Heart experts from Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids have successfully produced an anatomically accurate 3-D model of a patient’s heart, which may lead physicians to better diagnose and treat cardiac patients.

“The technology could be beneficial to cardiologists and surgeons,” says Dr. Joseph Vettukattil, co-director of the hospital’s Congenital Heart Center, and senior author of the study. “The model will promote better diagnostic capability and improved interventional and surgical planning, which will help determine whether a condition can be treated via a transcatheter route or if it requires surgery.”

The research team used two different technologies — computed tomography and three-dimensional transesophageal echocardiography, know as 3DTEE — to print a 3-D model of a patient’s heart.

“Hybrid 3-D printing integrates the best aspects of two or more imaging modalities, which can potentially enhance diagnosis, as well as interventional and surgical planning,” says Jordan Gosnell, cardiac sonographer for the hospital and lead author of the study. “Previous methods of 3-D printing utilize only one imaging modality, which may not be as accurate as merging two or more datasets.”

Gosnell says computed tomography enhances visualization of the outside anatomy of the heart, while 3DTEE provides the best visualization of valve anatomy. He says the model opens the way for another technique, magnetic resonance imaging, which can be used to provide a better measurement of the interior of the heart, including the right and left ventricles or main chambers of the heart, as well as the heart’s muscular tissue.

Vettukattil will present the findings this weekend at the CSI 2015 – Catheter Interventions in Congenital, Structural, and Valvular Heart Diseases Congress in Frankfurt, Germany.​