Experts testing 3D printers use to improve artificial valve placement

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Experts testing 3D printers use to improve artificial valve placement: Sharrie Williams reports during Action News at 5pm on March 5, 2018. (WPVI)

Heart specialists are really putting 3D printers to work.

In Ohio, engineers and doctors are testing their use to improve artificial valve placement.

A team at Ohio State University is printing 3D models of a specific patient's aorta - the main blood vessel from the heart.

With a simulator, they reproduce that person's blood flow, to chose the best valve, approach, and placement.

"Each of these valves are a little bit different, and every patient is a little bit different. Sizes are different, the location of the calcium and hardening of the valve is different," said Dr. Scott Lilly.

A better fit from the start cuts complications like leaks, heart blockages, and blood clots.

They say the 3D modeling has worked so far.

And they predict that someday, it will be standard practice.

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