Clin Surg | Volume 5, Issue 1 | Research Article | Open Access

The Use of Three-Dimensional Printing in Complex Cardiovascular Disease: Our 5-year Experience in Greece

Protopapas M Eleftherios1,2*, Nicolas Hakim1,2, Panayiotis Zografos1,2, Leonardo Bilalis3, Prodromos Zavaropoulos1,2, Chrysanthos Alexopoulos4 and George Sarris1,2

1Athens Heart Surgery Institute, Athens, Greece
2Department of Congenital Cardiac Surgery, Laso Children’s Hospital, Athens, Greece
33D-Life SA, Athens, Greece
4Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, Laso Children’s Hospital, Athens, Greece

*Correspondance to: Protopapas M Eleftherios 

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Introduction: 3D-printing is revolutionizing clinical medicine. We have pioneered the use of 3D-printed anatomic models for the management of complex congenital and acquired structural cardiac lesions. Herein, we report our relevant experience. Methods: Since 2013, our team at Athens Heart Surgery Institute has created accurate 3D-printed cardiac anatomic models in selected complex cases, based on contrast–enhanced CT or MRI images, segmented to suitable STL files and fed to a highly accurate polyjet-technology 3D-printer. Each model was assessed with regard to its impact on improved diagnostic understanding, optimization of surgical planning, family education and for surgical teaching and simulation. Results: 3D-printed models were created for 42 patients. In 40/42, the models proved extremely useful for pre-surgical diagnostic assessment and planning. In 2 cases, surgical inspection revealed inaccuracies of the models attributed to suboptimal preoperative imaging. All models were highly valued by parents/patients during preoperative counseling. Surgical pre-procedure simulation helped clarify aims and limitations of planned surgical interventions. Accordingly, our models were used in the successful first European Hands-On Surgical Simulation Workshop for teaching the Arterial Switch Operation (ASO). Our experience with this technology is available online at a unique and ever expanding anatomic “cloud library” ( Conclusion: 3D-Printing of physical cardiac models is a powerful tool for improved diagnostic assessment and preoperative preparation for patients with complex congenital and other structural heart defects. This innovative technology promises to optimize personalized patient care for challenging cases, contributing to reduced mortality, morbidity, and costs.


Eleftherios PM, Hakim N, Zografos P, Bilalis L, Zavaropoulos P, Alexopoulos C, et al. The Use of Three-Dimensional Printing in Complex Cardiovascular Disease: Our 5-year Experience in Greece. Clin Surg. 2020; 5: 2902..

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