Home » Children with heart disease: 3D hearts to train doctors in developing countries

Children with heart disease: 3D hearts to train doctors in developing countries

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Children with heart disease: 3D hearts to train doctors in developing countries

An act of generosity to help treat children with heart disease. The invitation comes from the association Cardiopathic Children in the World – AICI Onlus, which has been working since 1993 to treat children born in the most difficult areas of the planet and to train doctors and healthcare workers, and is launching the fundraising campaign until March 3rd # DONAUNCUORE with solidarity number 45587.

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In cardiac surgery and interventional cardiology, training is the main tool for learning: the Æsculapius higher education project aims to prepare 120 young cardiac surgeons and cardiologists from emerging and developing countries in two years through the organization of innovative courses in surgical technique and pediatric echocardiography.

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What are 3D hearts

The professor Alessandro Frigiola – director of the Pediatric and Adult Congenital Cardiac Surgery Area at the IRCCS Policlinico San Donato and President of Cardiac Children in the World – has created, in particular for cardiac surgeons, a pioneering training and simulation project with the use of printed hearts 3D of various cardiac pathologies.

The need was to fill important gaps. The shortage of doctors and the low professional level are in fact making healthcare systems increasingly fragile, as Frigiola himself explains. Today, technology is essential for treatment and obtaining results and young, qualified doctors are needed to do so.

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A long and complicated path for specialists. Becoming a child heart surgeon takes a long time and a lot of training, which usually ranges between the ages of 6 and 18. To shorten these times, we can use simulation training. It allows you to make great progress in a short time by practicing on 3D printed heart models as on real patients. Cardiovascular diseases kill 20 million people worldwide 11 December 2023

3D hearts, printed with an innovative plastic material that reproduces cardiac tissue as faithfully as possible, allow cardiac surgeons to practice a potentially infinite number of times to improve their operating technique. Furthermore, they have the advantage of being able to be produced in different sizes, depending on the age of the hypothetical patient, recreating the real pathologies that cardiac surgeons will have to treat during their professional life.

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New heart screening techniques

In addition to training for cardiac surgeons, the Æsculapius Project also includes sessions dedicated to pediatric cardiologists to teach them the most advanced techniques of pediatric and neonatal echocardiography for the correct and early diagnosis of congenital heart disease. In this case the practical training session uses a newborn mannequin which is used to carry out ultra-realistic, accurate and high-fidelity ultrasound scans.

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The training aimed at young doctors takes place over five days for cardiac surgeons and three for pediatric cardiologists within the Training Center of the IRCCS Policlinico San Donato. Children with Heart Disease in the World also supports all the costs of food, accommodation and transfers from the countries of origin.

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