Cardiac 3D Print Lab

3D Print Lab - Luke's Story

Mom and Luke in recovery

3D visualization and 3D printing technologies continue to touch many lives. We present a letter written by a patient's mother. She describes her family's journey through pregnancy, diagnosis, surgery and recovery. It is a truly touching and incredible story:

We found out about Luke’s heart when we were 18 weeks into the pregnancy. Luke was our second child, and we were going in for what we thought was going to be our routine anatomy ultrasound. I noticed the ultrasound tech studying the heart a little more than other parts of his tiny body but thought nothing of it, until she said, “There is something wrong with his heart.” With it being April 1, I though to myself, "What kind of prank is that?!" Only, she wasn’t joking. We were instantly in tears. We were a mess, feeling both scared and angry.

Tetralogy of Fallot

Click on the image to learn more about Tetralogy of Fallot


Mom holding 3D print of Luke's heart​Soon after that we were in the Heart Center at St. Joseph’s Hospital having an echo done on Luke’s heart. There they told us exactly what was going on with his heart and drew pictures on paper for us to “visually” understand. He was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot with a VSD, Pulmonary Atresia, and Collateral MAPCAS. We were some of the lucky ones, knowing about his condition before he was born, but there is no way one can prepare for anything that comes with this. Sure, I suppose you can do your research on the diagnosis, but how do you prepare yourself to see your little newborn with so many tubes and wires coming off of them? How does a mother, hormones a mess, go days without being able to even hold her precious babe?

After a week stay in the NICU at St. Joseph's, we were transferred to Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Luke’s cardiologist, Dr. Pophal, was in the room with my husband when I arrived. Dr. Pophal had something with him I could have never imagined. He reached in the pocket of his coat and pulled out a 3D replica of Luke’s heart. I was in awe. The first words out of our mouths were, “Do we get to keep this?” He then proceeded to show us on the replica of Luke’s heart, exactly what was going on. Everything made complete sense then.

Luke has had 2 open heart surgeries and a few catheterizations in his 2 years of life, with more on the way, but he is thriving! If this 3D technology was not available to our amazing team of doctors, I don't know that Luke would even be here today. We will forever be grateful to the engineers for dreaming this up and bringing it to life and to the doctors for being open to using this incredible technology!


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