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The Value of 3D Printing Models of Left Atrial Appendage Using Real-Time 3D Transesophageal Echocardiographic Data in Left Atrial Appendage Occlusion: Applications toward an Era of Truly Personalized Medicine

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      Aims and Objectives: The objective of this study was to assess the clinical feasibility of generating 3D printing models of left atrial appendage (LAA) using real-time 3D transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) data for preoperative reference of LAA occlusion. Background: Percutaneous LAA occlusion can effectively prevent patients with atrial fibrillation from stroke. However, the anatomical structure of LAA is so complicated that adequate information of its structure is essential for successful LAA occlusion. Emerging 3D printing technology has the demonstrated potential to structure more accurately than conventional imaging modalities by creating tangible patient-specific models. Typically, 3D printing data sets are acquired from CT and MRI, which may involve intravenous contrast, sedation, and ionizing radiation. It has been reported that 3D models of LAA were successfully created by the data acquired from CT. However, 3D printing of the LAA using real-time 3D TEE data has not yet been explored. Methods: Acquisition of 3D transesophageal echocardiographic data from 8 patients with atrial fibrillation was performed using the Philips EPIQ7 ultrasound system. Raw echocardiographic image data were opened in Philips QLAB and converted to ‘Cartesian DICOM' format and imported into Mimics® software to create 3D models of LAA, which were printed using a rubber-like material. The printed 3D models were then used for preoperative reference and procedural simulation in LAA occlusion. Results: We successfully printed LAAs of 8 patients. Each LAA costs approximately CNY 800-1,000 and the total process takes 16-17 h. Seven of the 8 Watchman devices predicted by preprocedural 2D TEE images were of the same sizes as those placed in the real operation. Interestingly, 3D printing models were highly reflective of the shape and size of LAAs, and all device sizes predicted by the 3D printing model were fully consistent with those placed in the real operation. Also, the 3D printed model could predict operating difficulty and the presence of a peridevice leak. Conclusions: 3D printing of the LAA using real-time 3D transesophageal echocardiographic data has a perfect and rapid application in LAA occlusion to assist with physician planning and decision making.

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      Most cited references 16

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      Worldwide epidemiology of atrial fibrillation: a Global Burden of Disease 2010 Study.

      The global burden of atrial fibrillation (AF) is unknown. We systematically reviewed population-based studies of AF published from 1980 to 2010 from the 21 Global Burden of Disease regions to estimate global/regional prevalence, incidence, and morbidity and mortality related to AF (DisModMR software). Of 377 potential studies identified, 184 met prespecified eligibility criteria. The estimated number of individuals with AF globally in 2010 was 33.5 million (20.9 million men [95% uncertainty interval (UI), 19.5-22.2 million] and 12.6 million women [95% UI, 12.0-13.7 million]). Burden associated with AF, measured as disability-adjusted life-years, increased by 18.8% (95% UI, 15.8-19.3) in men and 18.9% (95% UI, 15.8-23.5) in women from 1990 to 2010. In 1990, the estimated age-adjusted prevalence rates of AF (per 100 000 population) were 569.5 in men (95% UI, 532.8-612.7) and 359.9 in women (95% UI, 334.7-392.6); the estimated age-adjusted incidence rates were 60.7 per 100 000 person-years in men (95% UI, 49.2-78.5) and 43.8 in women (95% UI, 35.9-55.0). In 2010, the prevalence rates increased to 596.2 (95% UI, 558.4-636.7) in men and 373.1 (95% UI, 347.9-402.2) in women; the incidence rates increased to 77.5 (95% UI, 65.2-95.4) in men and 59.5 (95% UI, 49.9-74.9) in women. Mortality associated with AF was higher in women and increased by 2-fold (95% UI, 2.0-2.2) and 1.9-fold (95% UI, 1.8-2.0) in men and women, respectively, from 1990 to 2010. There was evidence of significant regional heterogeneity in AF estimations and availability of population-based data. These findings provide evidence of progressive increases in overall burden, incidence, prevalence, and AF-associated mortality between 1990 and 2010, with significant public health implications. Systematic, regional surveillance of AF is required to better direct prevention and treatment strategies.
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         R Abbott,  P A Wolf,  W Kannel (1991)
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          The clinical impact of incomplete left atrial appendage closure with the Watchman Device in patients with atrial fibrillation: a PROTECT AF (Percutaneous Closure of the Left Atrial Appendage Versus Warfarin Therapy for Prevention of Stroke in Patients With Atrial Fibrillation) substudy.

          The purpose of this study was to investigate the frequency and clinical impact of incomplete left atrial appendage (LAA) sealing and consequent peri-device residual blood flow in patients undergoing percutaneous LAA closure with the Watchman device (Atritech, Inc., Plymouth, Minnesota). During percutaneous LAA closure for stroke prophylaxis, the geometric variability of the LAA ostium may result in an incomplete seal of the LAA. On the one hand, this could enhance thrombus formation and embolization of thrombi around the device into the circulation; on the other hand, the relatively small size of these leaks may preclude clinically relevant embolizations. Patients randomly assigned to device implantation in the PROTECT AF (Percutaneous Closure of the Left Atrial Appendage Versus Warfarin Therapy for Prevention of Stroke in Patients With Atrial Fibrillation) trial were analyzed. Transesophageal echocardiography was performed at 45 days, 6 months, and 12 months. Per the study protocol, patients discontinued warfarin therapy if the 45-day Transesophageal echocardiogram revealed either minimal or no peri-device flow (jet ≤5 mm width). The impact of peri-device flow severity, defined as minor, moderate, or major ( 3 mm, respectively) on the composite primary efficacy endpoint (stroke, systemic embolism, and cardiovascular death) is expressed as hazard ratio (HR) with 95% confidence interval (CI). Transesophageal echocardiography follow-up revealed that 32.0% of implanted patients had at least some degree of peri-device flow at 12 months. The HR of the primary efficacy endpoint per 1 mm larger per-device flow was 0.84 (95% CI: 0.62 to 1.14; p = 0.256). Compared to patients with no peri-device flow, the HRs were 0.85 (95% CI: 0.11 to 6.40), 0.83 (95% CI: 0.33 to 2.09), and 0.48 (95% CI: 0.11 to 2.09) for minor, moderate, and major peri-device flow, respectively (p = 0.798). Compared to patients with no peri-device flow who discontinued warfarin, the HR for patients with any peri-device flow and continuing warfarin was 0.63 (95% CI: 0.14 to 2.71; p = 0.530). These data indicate that residual peri-device flow into the LAA after percutaneous closure with the Watchman device was common, and is not associated with an increased risk of thromboembolism. This finding should be interpreted with caution as the low event rate decreases the confidence of this conclusion. Copyright © 2012 American College of Cardiology Foundation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

            Author and article information

            Zhujiang Hospital, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou City, China
            S. Karger AG (Basel, Switzerland karger@ )
            November 2016
            19 August 2016
            : 135
            : 4
            : 255-261
            Cardiology 2016;135:255-261
            © 2016 S. Karger AG, Basel

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