Baby saved using 3D print model of his heart

Eudore R. Chand

ABU DHABI 8 December 2020: A medical team at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, SKMC, have successfully performed a breakthrough life-saving surgery on an infant, Adam, suffering from complex congenital heart defect.

The complex corrective heart surgery, first of its kind in the UAE, was performed at the SEHA-affiliated hospital, with the use of the latest imaging devices and 3D printing technology to accurately diagnose the patient’s condition and devise an appropriate surgical plan.

The malformations that were present in the boy’s heart involved all cardiac levels from abnormal inflows to the heart, absence of a barrier between the ventricles and the atria, abnormal intracardiac valves and of the great arteries that were also originating from the wrong chambers.

Dr. Mariam Butti Al Mazrouei, Chief Executive Officer, SKMC, said, “Pediatric cardiac surgery is one of the surgical super specialties offered at SKMC. With a team of specialised and distinguished surgeons, we were able to successfully perform corrective heart surgery locally, which otherwise would have to be performed overseas – keeping newborns and infants, like Adam, close to home.”

Prior to surgery, the medical team developed a model of Adam’s heart using 3D printing technology in order to better understand the anatomy of the patient’s heart and blood vessels, enabling them to plan and emulate exact steps of the operation.

Dr. Laszlo Kiraly, Division Chief and Consultant Cardiac Surgeon at SKMC, and the lead surgeon on this case, said, “Printing a tangible model of Adam’s heart before the surgery was a key factor in the success of the 11-hour procedure and guaranteed his safety throughout. Adam is one little hero among over 4,500 pediatric cardiac surgery patients operated at SKMC.”

Complex Surgery

Following the surgery, Adam’s heart was connected to an Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation, ECMO, device, which draws blood from the body to allow artificial oxygenation with the aim of relieving the heart after long and complicated operations. With the help of the device, that worked for approximately 200 hours, Adam received expert post-surgical care for three months before being reunited with his family.

Adam’s father praised the efforts of SKMC’s medical and surgical team, he said, “We are relieved that SKMC could provide Adam with the care he required. I am grateful to the team who were involved in my son’s treatment, not only for saving his life, but also for their compassion and continuous outreach to check on Adam’s health and recovery.”


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