We’re Less Than A Decade Away From A 3D Printed Heart

By: Zach Walton - November 20, 2013

3D printing and medicine have been best buds as of late with researchers using the technology to print everything from blood vessels to working organs. Now one group of researchers wants to use 3D printers to replicate the heart.

A team at Kentucky’s Cardiovascular Innovation Institute is making their own 3D printers in the hope that they can be used to print a working human heart within ten years. It’s an incredibly ambitious goal, but one that would have dramatic repercussions throughout medicine. After all, think of the benefits of a heart crafted from a person’s own cells instead of a donor heart that the patient’s body may end up rejecting.

So, how does one go about 3D printing a heart? It all starts with fat as the process extracts cells from the patient’s fat. The cells are then used in a 3D printer that layers human tissue in the shape of a heart. These cells are held together with a glue that will eventually dissolve as the cells naturally join together to form a working heart.

The best part about this potential new source of transplantable hearts is the cost. The cost of a printed heart is ballparked around $100,000 and the surgery itself would cost around $150,000. That may seem like a lot, but it’s far cheaper than what a heart transplant currently costs. The patient would also save money on medication as anti-rejection drugs wouldn’t be necessary for a heart made from the patient’s own cells.

[Image: Courier-Journal] [h/t: 3ders]
Zach Walton

About the Author

Zach WaltonZach Walton is a Writer for WebProNews. He specializes in gaming and technology. Follow him on Twitter, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, and Google+ +Zach Walton

View all posts by Zach Walton
  • Miss Sally Purechrist

    If Holy Jeebus wanted us to have hearts that wouldn’t wear out, he’d have made ours out of Teflon and Titanium.

    Since he didn’t, it’s obvious that this is the work of Evil Lucyfur, Himself!

    Since the Jehovah’s Witnesses ban blood transfusions, this is OBVIOUSLY related, so it must be banned as well, for EVERYONE in our Christ-fearing nation! The Will of god MUST be adhered to!

    Anyone who gets one of these hearts will be possessed by demons and will surely bring an end to the world when Holy Jeebus will cum again!

    • Heart Mom

      And what about the 1 year old, 5 year old, 15 year old whose heart is sick and not ‘worn out’ by age? I’m sure you would say that they were meant to be sick and die (that it was their fate all along).. You don’t have to accept a printed heart for yourself but…..I don’t feel Lucifer (sp)is behind this, if anything it’s the other way around.. Regardless I’ll take a printed heart for my daughter please!! LIKE NOW!!

    • scott

      Hmmm, god gave us brains to invent,inspire, if we don’t get teflon and titanium hearts when ours is in need of repair. Aren’t we wasting the gift of intelligence he gave us. Maybe we should all go back to living in caves then?

  • Devil’s Advocate

    But – uh – we’re not all Jehovah’s Witnesses.

  • Miss Sally Purechrist

    AH – but not all Homosexuals are Christians, and yet we Christians want to ban them from getting married to others of the same sex, don’t we?

    If we can ban something for gays even if they’re not Christians, than we can ban blood transfusions even though you’re not a Jehovah’s Witness.

    See how that logic works??? If we make laws for Christians that affect non-Christians, we need to make laws for Jehovah’s Witnesses that affect non-Jehovah’s Witnesses. It’s that simple.

  • http://alltoptens.com/ Sadek

    What about 3d printed brain cells? is it possible in near future?