Cleveland Clinic surgeon uses 3D-printed heart to prepare for successful procedure on 1-year-old girl

Cleveland Clinic surgeon uses 3D-printed heart to prepare for successful procedure on 1-year-old girl

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A 1-year-old girl has made a miraculous recovery after becoming one of the youngest patients to ever undergo a complex surgery that was performed by a Cleveland Clinic surgeon.

Little Paisley’s mother, Megan Curtis, discovered during the third trimester of her pregnancy in a sonogram that there was something seriously wrong.

(Source: Cleveland Clinic/Megan Curtis)
(Source: Cleveland Clinic/Megan Curtis)

The baby girl was born with a rare, life-threatening condition called dextrocardia with heterotaxy.

According to Paisley’s surgeon at Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital, Dr. Hani Najm, dextrocardia is a congenital condition in which the heart points toward the right side of the chest instead of the left side.

Paisley’s case was even more complicated because of a malformed heart cavity and other defects that prevented an established source of blood flow.

Curtis’ initial reaction was terror, but Dr. Najm was confident that Paisley would have a future.

“He walked into the room with confidence, sat down and said he had reviewed Paisley’s anatomy. ‘It’s not the best heart I’ve ever seen, but it’s not the worst.’ That truly gave me hope,” says Curtis.

Less than a week after birth, Dr. Najm and his team performed a lifesaving operation to reroute her blood flow.

“We developed a plan for Paisley right from the start. She has a very different anatomy, so we needed a unique approach to converting her heart into two pumping chambers, like normal people,” explains Dr. Najm.

Paisley remained in the hospital for more than a month while experts monitored her blood oxygen levels and prepared her for the next surgical procedure.

At 9 months old, surgeons performed a biventricular conversion. The procedure involved diverting Paisley’s blood flow to her lungs and through a implant to the ventricle.

In order to do the surgery successfully, Dr. Najm used a 3D-printed replica of Paisley’s heart to prepare.

“I would look at the (3D) heart for hours before deciding – with reasonable confidence – if these novel procedures would be feasible,” says Dr. Najm. “It is an invaluable tool when planning to repair complex hearts.”

(Source: Cleveland Clinic)
(Source: Cleveland Clinic) (Source: Stephen Travarca P-216.444.0768

“It was the most amazing moment, to sit there and hold her little heart,” recalls Curtis.

Paisley is one of the youngest patients to undergo this specific procedure, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

She is now fully-recovered from the procedure and is described as “energetic” and “quite active.”

(Source: Cleveland Clinic)
(Source: Cleveland Clinic)

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