This is the first time the integration of computed tomography (CT) and 3D transesophageal echocardiography (3DTEE) has successfully been used for printing a hybrid 3D model of heart.
The study also opens the way for these techniques to be used in combination with a third tool magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
"This is a huge leap for individualised medicine in cardiology and congenital heart disease. The technology could be beneficial to cardiologists and surgeons," said Dr. Joseph Vettukattil from Helen DeVos Children's Hospital in Michigan.
The model will promote better diagnostic capability and improved interventional and surgical planning, which will help determine whether a condition can be treated via transcatheter route or if it requires surgery."
"Hybrid 3D printing integrates the best aspects of two or more imaging modalities," said Jordan Gosnell, cardiac sonographer and lead author of the study.
The team used specialised software to register images to selectively integrate datasets to produce an accurate anatomic model of the heart.
The result creates more detailed and anatomically accurate 3D renderings and printed models, which may enable physicians to better diagnose and treat heart disease.
Vettukattil is known internationally for his work and research with three-and four-dimensional echocardiography.
He presented the results at the CSI 2015 congress in Frankfurt, Germany recently.