Virtual Surgery for Conduit Reconstruction of the Right Ventricular Outflow Tract

World J Pediatr Congenit Heart Surg. 2017 May;8(3):391-393. doi: 10.1177/2150135117692777.


Purpose: Virtual surgery involves the planning and simulation of surgical reconstruction using three-dimensional (3D) modeling based upon individual patient data, augmented by simulation of planned surgical alterations including implantation of devices or grafts. Here we describe a case in which virtual cardiac surgery aided us in determining the optimal conduit size to use for the reconstruction of the right ventricular outflow tract.

Description: The patient is a young adolescent male with a history of tetralogy of Fallot with pulmonary atresia, requiring right ventricle-to-pulmonary artery (RV-PA) conduit replacement. Utilizing preoperative magnetic resonance imaging data, virtual surgery was undertaken to construct his heart in 3D and to simulate the implantation of three different sizes of RV-PA conduit (18, 20, and 22 mm).

Evaluation: Virtual cardiac surgery allowed us to predict the ability to implant a conduit of a size that would likely remain adequate in the face of continued somatic growth and also allow for the possibility of transcatheter pulmonary valve implantation at some time in the future. Subsequently, the patient underwent uneventful conduit change surgery with implantation of a 22-mm Hancock valved conduit. As predicted, the intrathoracic space was sufficient to accommodate the relatively large conduit size without geometric distortion or sternal compression.

Conclusion: Virtual cardiac surgery gives surgeons the ability to simulate the implantation of prostheses of different sizes in relation to the dimensions of a specific patient's own heart and thoracic cavity in 3D prior to surgery. This can be very helpful in predicting optimal conduit size, determining appropriate timing of surgery, and patient education.

Keywords: 3D reconstruction; computer-aided design; right ventricle-to-pulmonary artery (RV-PA) conduit surgery; virtual surgery.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Bioprosthesis*
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Heart Valve Prosthesis*
  • Heart Ventricles / diagnostic imaging
  • Heart Ventricles / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional*
  • Male
  • Prosthesis Design
  • Surgery, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Ventricular Outflow Obstruction / diagnosis
  • Ventricular Outflow Obstruction / surgery*