Towards Additive Manufacture of Functional, Spline-Based Morphometric Models of Healthy and Diseased Coronary Arteries: In Vitro Proof-of-Concept Using a Porcine Template

J Funct Biomater. 2018 Feb 2;9(1):15. doi: 10.3390/jfb9010015.


The aim of this study is to assess the additive manufacture of morphometric models of healthy and diseased coronary arteries. Using a dissected porcine coronary artery, a model was developed with the use of computer aided engineering, with splines used to design arteries in health and disease. The model was altered to demonstrate four cases of stenosis displaying varying severity, based on published morphometric data available. Both an Objet Eden 250 printer and a Solidscape 3Z Pro printer were used in this analysis. A wax printed model was set into a flexible thermoplastic and was valuable for experimental testing with helical flow patterns observed in healthy models, dominating the distal LAD (left anterior descending) and left circumflex arteries. Recirculation zones were detected in all models, but were visibly larger in the stenosed cases. Resin models provide useful analytical tools for understanding the spatial relationships of blood vessels, and could be applied to preoperative planning techniques, but were not suitable for physical testing. In conclusion, it is feasible to develop blood vessel models enabling experimental work; further, through additive manufacture of bio-compatible materials, there is the possibility of manufacturing customized replacement arteries.

Keywords: CAD; PolyDiMethylSiloxan (PDMS); additive manufacture; coronary arteries; hemodynamics; models; morphometric; rapid prototyping.