VR and 3D Printing revolutionize medical procedures in Iowa.

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Doctors at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital have successfully repaired a congenital heart defect using the power of Virtual Reality (VR) and 3D printing. The first-of-its-kind procedure in Iowa offered hope to 67-year-old Maria Andrade, sparing her the arduous recovery typically associated with open-heart surgery. Maria’s case presented unique challenges as she had a history of other medical issues, making traditional surgery risky. To find a less invasive solution, she was referred to Dr. Osamah Aldoss, a Pediatric Cardiologist specializing in congenital heart disease. The scans revealed a large hole in her heart and an abnormal vein connecting to the wrong chamber. With surgery deemed unsuitable, the medical team turned to cutting-edge technology—3D printing and Virtual Reality. Under the guidance of Dr. Ravi Ashwath, the director of non-invasive imagery, they virtually constructed an exact 3D model of Maria’s heart. This allowed them to practice the non-invasive procedure before performing it on Maria, providing greater precision and reducing the risks associated with the surgery.

Using special software, the doctors were not only able to create 3D models virtually but also print physical models. This innovative approach gave the medical team a sense of familiarity with the procedure as if they had already performed it. Armed with this extensive preparation, the chances of complications during the actual process were significantly minimized. The non-invasive procedure was carried out with a catheter, and Maria could return home the following day, marking a remarkable success for both the patient and the medical team. The team’s journey towards this groundbreaking procedure was further facilitated by collaboration with doctors in the UK who had prior experience with similar systems. Drawing from the expertise of this specialized team, the University of Iowa medical professionals could deliver exceptional care and groundbreaking medical advancements. Dr. Ravi Ashwath highlighted the significance of this achievement, as it marked the first time this procedure had been performed in Iowa. The successful use of cutting-edge technology showcased Iowa’s ability to provide world-class medical care right at home, highlighting the state’s capacity to deliver outstanding healthcare services on par with any other region. Integrating 3D printing and Virtual Reality in the medical field has revolutionized surgical planning and has the potential to reshape the landscape of medical procedures. As technology advances, these innovative methods offer a glimpse into a future where non-invasive and precise medical interventions become the norm.

This landmark achievement by the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital is a testament to the power of technology and its potential to transform lives, making medical interventions safer, more effective, and accessible to all.

Story by Emily Schrad • Jul 24.

Univ. of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital doctors repair heart using VR and 3D printing.

SSM Health Medical Minute: Cardio THRIVE program follows pediatric heart patients into adulthood (msn.com)



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