3D heart models help optimze surgery options for aortic valve replacement

2018-03-06 03:13:16 GMT2018-03-06 11:13:16(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

WASHINGTON, March 5 (Xinhua) -- American physicians are usinginnovative, three dimensional models to improve care for patientsreceiving aortic valve replacements.

A paper released on Monday in the ongoing annual CRT conferencein Washington has shown that researchers have developed a way tomodel and predict potential complications so they can beavoided.

Patients' aortic valve needs to be replaced because their valveopenings have narrowed. Uusally, there are two options to replacethe diseased valve: open heart surgery through a traditionalopening of the chest, or a less invasive transcatheter method thatdeploys a tissue valve through a blood vessel in the leg.

To determine which way is better, they create personalized 3Dmodels of the aortic valve and neighboring structures and simulatehow the new valve will function.

"For most patients, available valves work comparably. However,in some cases the anatomy of the patient may create additionalconsiderations. For example, the patient may have calcified noduleson the valve leaflets, or coronary arteries that arise in closeproximity to the valve," said Scott Lilly, interventionalcardiologist and co-director of the structural heart program atOhio State Ross Heart Hospital.

Researchers precisely reconstruct a patient's aorta and 3D-printit from the patient's CT scan using various flexible materials thatmimic the real aorta. They load the model into a heart simulatorwhich pumps transparent, simulated blood through the system.

"Using laser and high-speed camera, we can measure blood flowvelocity and vortex patterns with and without a replacement valve.We can model various therapies, positions and types of valves tobetter understand problems such as leakage, clotting or coronaryobstruction," said Lakshmi Prasad Dasi from Ohio State's DavisHeart and Lung Research Institute.

"We can observe how different valves not only relieve thestenosis but also minimize the likelihood of blood clots forming onthe leaflets, which is the goal of the treatment," Dasi said.

"Each valve is a little different, and the anatomy of everypatient is unique. The ability to predict the function of the valveafter placement, and which valve may work best with the leastamount of leak and without impinging on adjacent structures iscritical," Lilly said. 

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