3D printing has been used to create complex arterial phantoms to advance device testing and physiological condition
evaluation. Stereolithographic (STL) files of patient-specific cardiovascular anatomy are acquired to build cardiac
vasculature through advanced mesh-manipulation techniques. Management of distal branches in the arterial tree is
important to make such phantoms practicable.
We investigated methods to manage the distal arterial flow resistance and pressure thus creating physiologically and
geometrically accurate phantoms that can be used for simulations of image-guided interventional procedures with
new devices. Patient specific CT data were imported into a Vital Imaging workstation, segmented, and exported as
STL files. Using a mesh-manipulation program (Meshmixer) we created flow models of the coronary tree. Distal
arteries were connected to a compliance chamber. The phantom was then printed using a Stratasys Connex3 multimaterial
printer: the vessel in TangoPlus and the fluid flow simulation chamber in Vero. The model was connected
to a programmable pump and pressure sensors measured flow characteristics through the phantoms. Physiological
flow simulations for patient-specific vasculature were done for six cardiac models (three different vasculatures
comparing two new designs). For the coronary phantom we obtained physiologically relevant waves which
oscillated between 80 and 120 mmHg and a flow rate of ~125 ml/min, within the literature reported values. The
pressure wave was similar with those acquired in human patients. Thus we demonstrated that 3D printed phantoms
can be used not only to reproduce the correct patient anatomy for device testing in image-guided interventions, but
also for physiological simulations. This has great potential to advance treatment assessment and diagnosis.
Kelsey Sommer, Rick L. Izzo, Lauren Shepard, Alexander R. Podgorsak, Stephen Rudin, Adnan H. Siddiqui, Michael F. Wilson, Erin Angel, Zaid Said, Michael Springer, and Ciprian N. Ionita, "Design optimization for accurate flow simulations in 3D printed vascular phantoms derived from computed tomography angiography," Proc. SPIE 10138, Medical Imaging 2017: Imaging Informatics for Healthcare, Research, and Applications, 101380R (Presented at SPIE Medical Imaging: February 16, 2017; Published: 13 March 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2253711.
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