Cardiologists in Aalst, Belgium, 3D printed the hearts of two patients for preprocedural planning in the treatment of arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat).
There are different types of arrhythmia and treatment thereof varies. Some conditions don’t require any treatment, while others call for medication or surgical procedures. One minimally invasive procedure is catheter ablation. During this procedure, a catheter delivers high-frequency electrical energy to a small area of tissue inside the heart that causes the abnormal heart rhythm. This energy scars the tissue, thus destroying the electrical pathway that causes the abnormality. Typically, each pathway needs to be disabled individually.
Drs. Tom De Potter and Peter Geelen developed a new, more efficient ablation technique to treat arrhythmia. They now can treat the affected tissue in its entirety, rather than pathway by pathway. Given that everyone’s heart anatomy is different and the risks involved in using a new technique, they had their patients’ hearts 3D printed from a CT scan to practice, customize and perfect their technique.
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Photo credit: http://www.hartcentrumaalst.be/nieuws