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Nat Rev Cardiol. 2016 Dec;13(12):701-718. doi: 10.1038/nrcardio.2016.170. Epub 2016 Oct 27.

Applications of 3D printing in cardiovascular diseases.

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Applied Imaging Science Lab, Radiology Department, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 75 Francis Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.
Department of Diagnostic Imaging, Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, 555 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M5G 1X8, Canada.
University of Ottawa Heart Institute, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, 40 Ruskin Street, Ottawa, Ontario K1Y 4W7, Canada.
Cardiovascular Division, University of Nebraska Medical Center, 42nd and Emile, Omaha, Nebraska 68198, USA.
Department of Radiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, 501 Smyth Road, Ottawa, Ontario K1H 8L6, Canada.
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, 725 Parkdale Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario K1Y 4E9, Canada.


3D-printed models fabricated from CT, MRI, or echocardiography data provide the advantage of haptic feedback, direct manipulation, and enhanced understanding of cardiovascular anatomy and underlying pathologies. Reported applications of cardiovascular 3D printing span from diagnostic assistance and optimization of management algorithms in complex cardiovascular diseases, to planning and simulating surgical and interventional procedures. The technology has been used in practically the entire range of structural, valvular, and congenital heart diseases, and the added-value of 3D printing is established. Patient-specific implants and custom-made devices can be designed, produced, and tested, thus opening new horizons in personalized patient care and cardiovascular research. Physicians and trainees can better elucidate anatomical abnormalities with the use of 3D-printed models, and communication with patients is markedly improved. Cardiovascular 3D bioprinting and molecular 3D printing, although currently not translated into clinical practice, hold revolutionary potential. 3D printing is expected to have a broad influence in cardiovascular care, and will prove pivotal for the future generation of cardiovascular imagers and care providers. In this Review, we summarize the cardiovascular 3D printing workflow, from image acquisition to the generation of a hand-held model, and discuss the cardiovascular applications and the current status and future perspectives of cardiovascular 3D printing.

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