Chennai surgeon designs 3D printed heart valve
A Chennai-based surgeon has designed and developed a unique prototype of a 3D printed specialized biopolymer heart valve to replace the valves currently made with metal components (mechanical) or animal tissue (bioprosthetic). The 3D-printed heart valves, made with specialized biopolymers that are very similar to human tissue, can be directly implanted in heart patients requiring valve replacement, according to Dr. Sanjay Cherian.
Fourth generation prototype seems to be working well: Dr. Cherian
"We're happy to announce India's first 3D printed heart valve. We came up with four different prototypes and this is the fourth generation. It seems to be working well," Dr. Cherian, who has been researching on this project for about a year said.
This will revolutionize valve replacement surgeries: Dr. Cherian
"This scientific innovation was undertaken in collaboration with the Center for Automation and School of Mechanical Engineering, Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT) in Chennai," Dr. Cherian further said. Dr. Cherian also claimed that the 3D printed heart valve will revolutionize valve replacement surgeries and will considerably improve the chances of the body accepting the implant.
Valves made with animal tissue often get infected: Dr. Cherian
"Valve surgeries are being performed for over half a century. In several cases the patients turn up after five or 10 years with the valve probably infected or torn off in the case of valves made with animal tissue," he said. As to his inspiration, he said, "We have been doing extensive research on the concept of 3D printing in the field of medicine."
Earlier, 3D printing was used to plan the surgical approach
Earlier, 3D printing was used to plan the surgical approach, especially for complex procedures in order to help cardiac surgeons to navigate and choose the best approach to treat heart diseases. "This time, we focused our efforts on using 3D printers to manufacture heart valves using specialized biopolymers that are similar to human tissue, which can be directly implanted in heart patients," he explained.
Process of patenting 3D printed heart valve is on: Doctor
"The process of patenting this 3D printed heart valve, and testing it to confirm its biocompatibility, efficacy, and durability is on," he added. "We need to conduct a series of tests before trying it on animals that have heart valves similar to humans," he said.
Cost of implant would be much lower
"As this innovative product is being made under the Made in India program, the cost of implant would be much lower than the imported heart valves currently used in India," he claimed. The cost of imported surgically implantable heart valve ranges between Rs. 45,000 (mechanical) and Rs. 65,000-80,000 for animal tissue valve. Presently, they are imported mainly from the US.