From Acedemia: Incorporating 3D Printing into Structural Heart Disease Procedure, Silicone Pulse Oximeter, COVID Swabs in Children

Category: Blog,From Academia
Sep 13, 2020

“From Academia” feature recent, relevant, close to commercialization academic publications in the space of healthcare 3D printing, bioprinting, and related emerging technologies. 

Email: Rance Tino ([email protected]) if you want to pen an Expert Corner blog for us or want to share relevant academic publications with us.

3D Printing, Computational Modeling, and Artificial Intelligence for Structural Heart Disease

– Authored by Dee Dee Wang, Zhen Qian, Marija Vukicevic, Sandy Engelhardt, Arash Kheradvar, Chuck Zhang, Stephen H. Little, Johan Verjans, Dorin Comaniciu, William W. O’Neill and Mani A. Vannan. JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging, 26 August 2020 


Structural heart disease (SHD) is a new field within cardiovascular medicine. Traditional imaging modalities fall short in supporting the needs of SHD interventions, as they have been constructed around the concept of disease diagnosis. SHD interventions disrupt traditional concepts of imaging in requiring imaging to plan, simulate, and predict intraprocedural outcomes. In transcatheter SHD interventions, the absence of a gold-standard open cavity surgical field deprives physicians of the opportunity for tactile feedback and visual confirmation of cardiac anatomy. Hence, dependency on imaging in periprocedural guidance has led to the evolution of a new generation of procedural skillsets, the concept of a visual field, and technologies in the periprocedural planning period to accelerate preclinical device development, physician, and patient education. Adaptation of 3-dimensional (3D) printing in clinical care and procedural planning has demonstrated a reduction in the early-operator learning curve for transcatheter interventions. The integration of computation modeling to 3D printing has accelerated research and development understanding of fluid mechanics within device testing. Application of 3D printing, computational modeling, and ultimately incorporation of artificial intelligence is changing the landscape of physician training and delivery of patient-centric care. Transcatheter structural heart interventions are requiring an in-depth periprocedural understanding of cardiac pathophysiology and device interactions not afforded by traditional imaging metrics.

3D Printing Silicone Elastomer for Patient‐Specific Wearable Pulse Oximeter

– Authored by Sara Abdollahi  Eric J. Markvicka  Carmel Majidi  Adam W. Feinberg. Advanced Healthcare Materials. 16 June 2020

(a) Schematic of the entire process, (b) Examples of the PDMS finger cuff (top view and front window view) and the PDMS finger cuff integrated with the fPCB without the battery attachment. Scale bar is 1cm. Copyright. Advanced Healthcare Materials


Commercial pulse oximeters are used clinically to measure heart rate and blood oxygen saturation and traditionally made from rigid materials. However, these devices are unsuitable for continuous monitoring due to poor fit and mechanical mismatch. Soft materials that match the elastic properties of biological tissue provide improved comfort and signal‐to‐noise but typically require molding to manufacture, limiting the speed and ease of customizing for patient‐specific anatomy. Here, freeform reversible embedding (FRE) 3D printing is used to create polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) elastomer cuffs for use on the hand and foot. FRE enables printing liquid PDMS prepolymer in 3D geometries within a sacrificial hydrogel bath that provides support during cure. This serves as a proof‐of‐concept for fabricating patient‐specific pulse oximeters with pressure sensing, termed P3‐wearable. A sizing analysis establishes the dimensional accuracy of FRE‐printed PDMS compared to anatomical computer‐aided design models. The P3‐wearable successfully outputs photoplethysmography (PPG) and pressure amplitude signals wirelessly to a tablet in real-time and the PPG is used to calculate heart rate, blood oxygen content, and activity state. The results establish that FRE printing of PDMS can be used to fabricate patient‐specific wearable devices and measure heart rate and blood oxygenation on par with commercial devices.

Design of 3D-Printed Nasopharyngeal Swabs for Children is Enabled by Radiologic Imaging

– Authored by Z. Starosolski, P. Admane, J. Dunn, B. Kaziny, T.A.G.M. Huisman and A. Annapragada. American Journal of Neuroradiology. 27 August 2020. 

A. Sagittal section of a maxillofacial CT scan of a 22-month-old patient. Shown in red is the trajectory of a virtually inserted swab reaching the posterior nasopharynx. The white box shows the portion of the anatomy chosen to print the nasopharyngeal passage. B, A commercial flocked paediatric swab (COPAN Flock Technologies swab) reaching the posterior nasopharynx within the 3D-printed nasopharyngeal passage. C, Design of the elliptical-section 3D-printed paediatric swab (Design ES). CopyrightAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology


3D-printed nasopharyngeal swabs for COVID-19 molecular diagnostic testing address the national shortage of swabs. Swab designs for adult use were placed in the public domain in March 2020. Swabs for paediatric use, however, need to be smaller and more flexible to navigate delicate paediatric nasopharyngeal cavities. We describe a novel use of maxillofacial CT scans to aid in the design of paediatric nasopharyngeal swabs.

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