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Shaping Young Hearts: Stratasys Helps a Surgeon Save More Kids

At Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, Director of Pediatric Cardiovascular Surgery Dr. Redmond Burke dedicates his intellect and his hands to repairing tiny hearts. Burke performs challenging operations, often for children who have nowhere else to turn. In the complex yet highly tactile task of rebuilding the vital organ, he has a new ally: 3D printing.

For patients with rare defects, Burke must plan procedures based on each child’s condition and anatomy. In the case of Mia Gonzalez, that meant untangling a double aortic arch, a structural defect in which a complete vascular ring wraps around the trachea or esophagus, restricting air flow and causing coughing and frequent respiratory infections. Before coming to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, Mia spent the first four years of her life in and out of hospitals, misdiagnosed with asthma and struggling to breathe and swallow.


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Mia’s surgeon used a 3D model of her heart to reveal the best method of repair for her double aortic arch — a defect that restricted her breathing.

“My team could visualize the operation before we started. We knew the safest approach, and confidently made a smaller incision.”

Dr. Redmond Burke, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital