3D-printed heart valves could reduce leakage in aortic valve replacements

3D printing has made a name for itself in the production of blood vessels, cartilage and a number of medical devices. Now, a team from the Georgia Institute of Technology and Piedmont Heart Institute are looking to test 3D-printed transcatheter aortic valve replacements (TAVR) for leakage before implantation.

The team produced models comparable to biological tissues via 3D printing. They then tried to develop a simulation platform for TAVR procedures that would allow for cardiologists to predict paravalvular leakage, which affects 26 to 67 percent of TAVR patients.

"Paravalvular leakage is an extremely important indicator in how well the patient will do long term with their new valve," said Zhen Qian, chief of cardiovascular imaging research at Georgia-based Piedmont Heart Institute. "The idea was, now that we can make a patient-specific model with this tissue-mimicking 3D printing technology, we can test how the prosthetic valves interact with the 3D printed models to learn whether we can predict leakage."

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