OPEN Cardiology journal | 26 May 2017
H Luo, J Meyer-Szary, Z Wang, R Sabiniewicz and Y Liu
Three-dimensional (3D) printing has attracted a huge interest in recent years. Broadly speaking, it refers to the technology which converts a predesigned virtual model to a touchable object. In clinical medicine, it usually converts a series of two-dimensional medical images acquired through computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging or 3D echocardiography into a physical model. Medical 3D printing consists of three main steps: image acquisition, virtual reconstruction and 3D manufacturing. It is a promising tool for preoperative evaluation, medical device design, hemodynamic simulation and medical education, it is also likely to reduce operative risk and increase operative success. However, the most relevant studies are case reports or series which are underpowered in testing its actual effect on patient outcomes. The decision of making a 3D cardiac model may seem arbitrary since it is mostly based on a cardiologist’s perceived difficulty in performing an interventional procedure. A uniform consensus is urgently necessary to standardize the key steps of 3D printing from imaging acquisition to final production. In the future, more clinical trials of rigorous design are possible to further validate the effect of 3D printing on the treatment of cardiovascular diseases.
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