Ethan Bradley was born with a rare defect that grew his heart backwards and on the wrong side of his body. He spent a first 9 years of his life going on doctor visits and having surgeries to help him live with this problem, but now, with the help of 3D printing doctors have successfully performed a procedure to change Ethan’s life forever:
The aim was to reroute Ethan’s blue blood to his lungs and his red blood to the aorta, the uppermost chamber of the organ. Carrying out the procedure successfully required general anesthesia, use of a heart-lung machine, and a team of 11 people, including nurses, surgeons and and technicians. “The actual separation of his circulation on the inside is kind of novel — it is not common that we do this,” Najm said. “But it is something that I was able to innovate. Because of the 3-D printing, I was able to look at it, and sit in my office and decide what I needed to do.” … Although Ethan will likely need additional surgeries as he grows, and he continues to see Zahka for follow-up appointments every two to three months, his latest surgery has him breathing easier and hopeful to engage in more of the activities his peers have enjoyed throughout their childhood. Since the operation, Ethan’s oxygen levels have reached around 95 percent, which is normal, and his once-blue skin now contains a healthful rosy-pink hue.
We love the future. When 3D printing came out we thought it was a toy. We never had any idea that it would have such potent and practical medical uses.