Latvian doctors use 3D-printed heart to plan surgery

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Using a 3D-printed replica for planning an operation, Latvian heart surgeons at the Pauls Stradiņš Clinical University Hospital in November successfully treated a heart patient who has now returned home, reported LSM's Latvian-language service Tuesday.

Heart surgeon Pēteris Stradiņš told journalists that the 59-year-old patient was lead to the hospital in an ambulance and doctors discovered a misplaced growth connecting both heart chambers.

Such a condition has a mortality rate of 100% without an operation, but even surgeries carry around a 50% risk of failure, said Stradiņš.

Doctors came up with the idea of making a 3D model of the patient's heart. The interior of the model would accord fully with the patient's heart. The data was acquired with CT scans. The model helped doctors plan accessing the heart and choose the most appropriate strategy for the surgery.

Following surgery, the patient was taken into emergency care but later kept as a regular inpatient and eventually released home. His condition is currently stable.

3D printing in heart surgery is considered a novelty across the world, giving doctors a way to better understand the pathology, test new medical technologies and train specialists, said heart surgeon Uldis Strazdiņš.

The model was made by the Baltic3D.eu company, and it was the first time such an object was printed in the Baltics.

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