A clinical trial to outline the benefits of using 3-D printed hearts for surgery was recently funded by the nonprofit organization Matthew’s Hearts of Hope. Read more about this on our sister blog, Vector.
Jason Ayres, a family doctor in Alabama, was speechless as he held his adopted son’s heart in his hands — well, a replica of his son’s heart, an exact replica, 3-D printed before the three-year-old boy had lifesaving open-heart surgery.
Patrick Ayres was one of the Boston Children’s Hospital’s first beneficiaries of 3-D printing, which in 2015 helped open a new frontier in pediatric cardiac surgery.
Patrick was born with numerous cardiac problems; in addition to double outlet right ventricle (DORV) and a complete atrioventricular canal defect, his heart lay backwards in his chest. DORV is a complex congenital defect in which the blood pumped from the heart to the body lacks adequate oxygen. Complete atrioventricular canal defect is a combination of issues related to holes in the heart and/or ineffective heart valves.
“There were a lot of things wrong with his heart,” says Jason. “We knew early on that he’d need complex surgery to survive.”