Kentucky Doctors Use Heart Replica To Aid Surgery

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Doctors operating on a 14-month-old child with heart defects studied a 3-D replica of the child's heart to aid the successful surgery.

Roland Lian Cung Bawi's heart was riddled with defects before the surgery at Kosair Children's Hospital.

Roland's surgeon Dr. Erle Austin told The Courier-Journal he expected the surgery to be tricky and wanted a model that offered more detail than two-dimensional scans. So his team contacted the University of Louisville engineering school, which used a 3-D printer to create a polymer model of Roland's heart.

Austin says once he had a model, he knew exactly what to do and how to do it.

Hospital officials say the Feb. 10 surgery was the first time 3-D printing was used for a pediatric heart patient in Kentucky.

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