3D-Printed Organs Could Save Lives, Driving Additive Manufacturing Growth in Medicine

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3Q 2017 | IN-4686


ETH Zurich prints a heart


Researchers at ETH Zurich, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, have produced a functioning human heart made of silicone using additive manufacturing (AM) technologies. Unfortunately, the heart can only beat for about half an hour before the material starts to break down. Patients awaiting heart transplants can currently use the mechanical pumps while waiting for a donated heart, but the scientists hope that the printed hearts will replace temporary mechanical pumps and eventually heart transplants or perhaps damaged heart tissue, if they can get them to last longer. 1


Meeting organ demand, on demand


The World Health Organization estimates that donated organs meet less than ten percent of the transplant demand worldwide. That leads to over 900,000 deaths each year in the United States, or 35% of all American deaths.2

Currently, an AM technology known as Polyjet modelling can use multiple materials to produce customized anatomical models with correct bone densities and ac…

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