CTA is not only the reference method in preoperative imaging of aortic aneurysm and dissection but also a preferred modality in the follow-up of patients with aortic aneurysmal disease after treated with endovascular stent graft repair. Regular follow-ups of these patients with CTA at 3 months, 6 months and 12 months thereafter increase cumulative radiation dose. Therefore, dose optimization is clinically important. "3D printed aortic models play a role in this area, in addition to its reported value in guiding complex aortic surgery or endovascular aortic repair," says Prof. Sun, adding that "Printing aortic dissection models is very challenging compared to other cardiovascular models due to very thin membranous structure of the intimal flap."
Prof. Sun's team is continuing to carry out more research on the development of aortic dissection models. CT pulmonary artery (CTPA) is a widely recognised modality in the detection of pulmonary embolism with high accuracy, thus, serving as the first line technique in the clinical diagnosis. Due to its widespread use, reduction of radiation dose and contrast dose has become a necessity with many low-dose protocols available. "3D printed pulmonary models can replicate normal pulmonary arteries with simulation of pulmonary emboli in both large and peripheral artery branches with low-dose protocols identified," says Dr. Sun. However, he insists that further experiments with reduction of contrast medium dose need to be conducted.
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"Our work encourages more research to be conducted along this pathway and we expect further interesting results available soon in medical imaging literature," notes Prof. Sun.Back to HCB News