How A 3-D Printed Heart Saved A Boy’s Life

by
Owen Poindexter
This video will have you asking how long it will be before every hospital has a 3-D printer.

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Roland was just over one year old, but he had a serious heart condition. Medication was keeping him alive, but his four congenital heart conditions were already stunting his growth. The structural issues in his heart required complex heart surgery. Usually, a doctor would have to rely on scans to have  a sense of a patient’s heart issues, but final decisions would occur once surgery had begun and the doctor could see the actual heart.

That’s where the folks at J.B. Speed School in Louisville, Ky. came in with a game changing application of 3-D printing.

What’s nearly as striking as the effectiveness of this procedure is the cost: $600 for the heart, and that’s without factoring in the reduction in costs from a more efficient, precise surgery. If that printed heart saved Roland even one doctor’s visit in his future, it is well on the way to paying for itself, and it sounds like the heart replica may have saved Roland much more than that.

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