3-D printer at Phoenix Children's Hospital changing the game in the medical world

- At Phoenix Children's Hospital, tucked away in a quiet, almost closet-sized room, amazing things are happening in the cardiac 3-D print lab.

Scanning, analyzing and printing an exact scale size replica of a patient's heart before surgery is a game changer.

"It's actually personalizing medicine for some of the most difficult patients around the world who have heart defects or brain problems, or spine problems," said Dr. Stephen Pophal, a pediatric cardiologist at PCH.

For example, take a patient who suffered from a heart attack.

"When that person had the heart attack, the hole was formed inside the heart," said Dr. Pophal

The hole it left was oval shaped by way of ultrasound or CT doctors say they wouldn't have known exactly what size that hole was, but thanks to 3-D printing, the guesswork has been greatly reduced.

With doctors knowing much more before they go in, procedures can be less invasive and save precious time.

Thanks to grants and donations, the team has been able to fund research so far, but with evolving technology to stay on the forefront continued financial support is crucial.

"To be sustainable, we need to be reimbursed. So we're working on a clinic trial that's multi-centered over 12 sites right now, to prove how we are effecting the circuit. Are we changing the metrics? Are we changing morbidity, mortality? And that is the data we'll need to convince the greater community that this should be reimbursed. Once we have that, that changes everything," said Dr. Justin Ryan, a research scientist at PCH.

Online: www.Cardiac3Dprintlab.com

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