The 3D printing of intricate anatomical structures has become increasingly sophisticated in line with advances in imaging technology, with the use of printed phantoms facilitating the more detailed manipulation of a simulated valve’s anatomy and control of blood flow behaviour.
Is it time to surgically replace a stenotic aortic valve? This question is faced by thousands of patients and cardiologists.
Part of the answer comes from an accurate measurement of the extra burden caused by the obstruction. And today, thanks to the latest research achievement by King’s researchers from the Cardiac Modelling and Imaging Biomarkers group, we know more about how to get this right.
Computer modelling and 3D printing of aortic flow phantoms offer an alternative to in vivo studies which carry both patient recruitment difficulties and potential procedural risks compared to the simulated alternative which can bear higher variations in blood pressure flow and drop.
More details can be found int two recently published papers. The Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance looked at the development of a non-invasive method to access the pressure of blood flow momentum via cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR). The Journal of Cardiovascular Translational Research looked at blood flow dynamics and measurements in phantoms models.
"By developing valve models that behave like real human valves, new techniques which more accurately characterise the severity of disease can be developed and improved without disrupting patients' care." says Harminder Gill, BM BCh.
Current techniques used to measure the severity of aortic stenosis such as Doppler echocardiography can be subject to uncontrolled sources of error and require invasive pressure measurements for the patient. The use of aortic flow phantoms offering one solution to this challenge.
"The decision on how and when to treat stenotic valves is complex and the diagnositc tools typically used in clinical routine have barely evolved during the past 50 years. Thus advances in the study of aortic stenosis patho-physiology are essential to provide a more comprehensive caracterization of this condition. The non-invasive assessment of the pressure recovery distance allows the detection of invasive catheterization errors as well as understanding the vessel length required for haemodynamic homeostasis to be reached." say Joao Filipe Fernandes, PhD, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Early Stage Researcher in Personalized in-Silico Cardiology
"These advances will enable us to take well informed decision on the best balance between drugs and surgeries for people living with valve conditions." states Prof. Pablo Lamata, Head of Cardiac Modelling and Imaging Biomarkers Group
Further information can be found here