Watch: 3D heart model presented to transplant recipient

An eight-year-old heart transplant recipient was given a 3D model of his own heart with wings to resemble a TIE fighter from Star Wars.

A 3-D model could better explain the hypoplastic left heart syndrome that Mason Thomas was born with. The defect affects blood flow through the left ventricle, which normally pumps blood to the body.

The work of creating this model, including collecting data from CT scans to make the printing instructions followed by 10 hours of a giant printing machine spitting out one tiny layer at a time, involved a collaboration between experts from Alberta Health Services’ Servier Virtual Cardiac Centre, the University of Alberta’s faculty of medicine and dentistry, and the faculty of engineering.

— With files from Lisa Johnson