Interventional cardiology

3D printed coronary artery model aid stent placement

Personalised 3D printed coronary artery models are being developed by WA researchers to simulate coronary stenting and help assess the feasibility of stent placement in individual patients.

The 3D printed models can help determine stent lumen visibility with third generation dual-source CT (DSCT)  and aid in correct placement, according to vascular surgeon Professor Shirley Jansen, Director Heart and Vascular Research Institute, Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research.

In a series of experiments done in conjunction with Professor  Zhonghua Sun of Curtin University, three patient-specific 3D printed coronary artery models were used in a simulation exercise with six coronary stents with varying diameters ranging from 2.5 to 4.0 mm.

Pic: Zhonghua Sun

Using coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA) they visualised the stent lumen using images reconstructed with different parameters. Based on 3D virtual intravascular endoscopy (VIE) images to provide intraluminal views of the coronary wall and stent appearance, they found visibility of the stent lumen overall was good, regardless of the stent diameter. The stent lumen visibility ranged from 54 to 97%, depending on the stent location in the coronary arteries.

They also showed that applying image postprocessing techniques such as a sharp kernel algorithm improved stent lumen visibility, especially in areas with multiple stent wires.

The researchers said 3D printing has already shown great promise in assisting pre-operative planning and simulation of surgical procedures, as well as in improving medical education and enhancing doctor-patient communication.

The new findings showed that personalized 3D printed models icould potentially have a role in cardiovascular imaging to develop optimal CT scanning protocols.

“Although this study represents a preliminary report with simulation of only a few stents in the 3D printed coronary arteries, results are promising as it is feasible to place these stents in the 3D printed realistic models, therefore, encouraging further experiments to identify optimal protocols in coronary CT stenting,” they concluded

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