With 3D printing technology stepping up the ladder, researchers could be well on their way to invigorate the success of transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). A new ‘JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging’ published study has been anticipated to aid doctors predict a near-accurate fit of prosthetic heart valve in TAVR patients while curbing the odds of paravalvular leakage. Atlanta Piedmont Heart Institute’s Cardiovascular Imaging Research chief Zhen Qian, also a co-author of the study, and coworkers have believed that their 3D heart valve models could help with the aforementioned need.
3D Printing Technology Improves Results of Heart Valve Replacement
Previously, researchers implementing 3D printers had been restricted to using the physiological attributes of the single material employed to produce human models. However, with the new 3D heart valve models engaging cutting-edge technology, the physiological attributes of heart valve tissue that uses various synthetic materials can be stimulated. Multi-material 3D printing and meta-material design used for creating the new models have considered the usual strain-stiffening action of soft tissues asides the mechanical behavior of heart valves. Built on computed tomography (CT) visuals of 18 TAVR patients, the new models had radiopaque beads lined to detect heart valve mimicking tissue dislocation.
Bulge Index Score Helps Define Acuteness of Paravalvular Leakage
Disparities indicating the poor fit of prosthetic valves implanted in 3D models were taken into consideration to generate a bulge index that could help to prophesy the seriousness of paravalvular leakage in TAVR patients. Bulge index score has been calculated to be directly proportional to paravalvular leakage severity. The extent of calcium accumulation on damaged heart valve has been projected to be another sign for determining paravalvular leakage severity, although the researchers have discovered that 3D printed models are more accurate.
Despite the need for additional refinement, Qian has said that the results achieved with 3D heart valve models are encouraging. Moreover, opting a different manufacturer and size of prosthetic could help to improve TAVR outcomes where 3D printing has been expected to prove vital for making the right choice.