Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology and the Piedmont Heart Institute are using standard medical imaging and new 3-D printing technologies to create patient-specific heart valve models that mimic the physiological qualities of the real valves. Their aim is to improve the success rate of transcatheter aortic valve replacements (TAVR) by picking the right prosthetic and avoiding a common complication known as paravalvular leakage.
“Paravalvular leakage is an extremely important indicator in how well the patient will do long term with their new valve,” said Zhen Qian, chief of Cardiovascular Imaging Research at Piedmont Heart Institute, which is part of Piedmont Healthcare. “The idea was, now that we can make a patient-specific model with this tissue-mimicking 3-D printing technology, we can test how the prosthetic valves interact with the 3-D printed models to learn whether we can predict leakage.”
The researchers, whose study was published July 3 in the journal JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging, found that the models, created from CT scans of the patients’ hearts, behaved so similarly to the real ones that they could reliably predict the leakage.
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