Healthcare

3D Printed "Mini Hearts" Offer Hope for Less Invasive Heart Failure Treatment

Main image to the post 3D Printed "Mini Hearts" Offer Hope for Less Invasive Heart Failure Treatment

3D Printed "Mini Hearts"

Elle Pendrick, a 41-year-old woman from Canberra, Australia, has faced the daunting prospect of open-heart surgery five times in her life due to complex congenital heart disease. Each surgery requires a lengthy recovery period, impacting her life and family significantly. However, a new research development offers hope for a less invasive alternative.

Dr. Carmine Gentile, a lead researcher at the Heart Research Institute, has created "mini hearts" – 3D printed patches using a patient's own stem cells. These patches can be placed over damaged areas of the heart, potentially eliminating the need for open-heart surgery.

While still in pre-clinical testing, the research shows promising results. The patches have been shown to improve heart function and could significantly reduce recovery time. Dr. Gentile estimates the cost of the lab-grown patch to be around $100,000, significantly less than the average $140,000 cost of a heart transplant in Australia.

Professor Steve Nicholls, a cardiology expert, acknowledges the potential of this research. He highlights the importance of the patch's flexibility, allowing it to adapt to the beating heart's movements. However, he emphasizes that further research is needed before the technology can be implemented in clinical trials.

This research offers a glimmer of hope for patients like Elle Pendrick, who face the challenges of repeated open-heart surgeries. The potential for a less invasive, more affordable alternative could revolutionize the treatment of heart failure and improve the lives of countless individuals.

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May 21, 2023 | 05:09