Stereolithographic reproduction of complex cardiac morphology based on high spatial resolution imaging

Gerald F. Greil, Ivo Wolf, Axel Kuettner, Michael Fenchel, Stephan Miller, Petros Martirosian, Fritz Schick, Matthias Oppitz, Hans Peter Meinzer, Ludger Sieverding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Background: Precise knowledge of cardiac anatomy is mandatory for diagnosis and treatment of congenital heart disease. Modern imaging techniques allow high resolution three-dimensional (3D) imaging of the heart and great vessels. In this study stereolithography was evaluated for 3D reconstructions of multidetector computed tomography (MDCT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data. Methods: A plastinated heart specimen was scanned with MDCT and after segmentation a stereolithographic (STL) model was produced with laser sinter technique. After scanning the STL model with MDCT these data were compared with those of the original specimen after rigid registration using the iterative closest points algorithm (ICP). The two surfaces of the original specimen and STL model were matched and the symmetric mean distance was calculated. Additionally, the heart and great vessels of patients (age range 41 days-21 years) with congenital heart anomalies were imaged with MDCT (n = 2) or free breathing steady, state free-precession MRI (n = 3). STL models were produced from these datasets and the cardiac segments were analyzed by two independent observers. Results: All cardiac structures of the heart specimen were reconstructed as a STL model within sub-millimeter resolution (mean surface distance 0.27 ± 0.76 mm). Cardiac segments of the STL patient models were correctly analyzed by two independent observers compared to the original 3D datasets, echocardiography (n = 5), x-ray angiography (n = 5), and surgery (n = 4). Conclusions: High resolution MDCT or MRI 3D datasets can be accurately reconstructed using laser sinter technique. Teaching, research and preoperative planning may be facilitated in the future using this technique.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)176-185
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Research in Cardiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2007


  • Computer simulation
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Multidetector computed tomography
  • Stereolithography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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