SEATTLE, Washington — Israel is one of many countries fighting heart disease. In recent years, heart disease has been the second-leading cause of death in Israel. In the United States, heart disease has been the number one leading cause of death. For many who require heart transplants, there are several obstacles along the way. Finally, 3D printing for heart transplants may address many of the obstacles faced by patients.
Heart disease, also known as cardiovascular disease, can cause a variety of symptoms depending on the core issue. The underlying problems can involve rhythm irregularities or blood vessel concerns. This dangerous disease can lead to strokes, heart attacks and even death. In serious cases, a heart transplant may be necessitated.
Israel Combating Heart Disease and Poverty
Israel is one of many countries that struggle with heart disease. In Israel, 15 out of every 100 deaths are due to heart disease. However, once one is over 75, the chances of heart disease increase. An astounding 42 out of every 100 men and 31 of every 100 women have a form of heart disease. Moreover, myocardial infarction contributes to nearly 25,000 trips to the hospital a year, marking heart disease in Israel as a very prevalent issue.
Not only is there a high number of heart disease cases in Israel, but the poverty rate also contributes to heart disease difficulties. People in poverty tend to have a higher rate of heart disease because poverty contributes to most of the causes of the disease. A sedentary lifestyle and less nutritious foods can cause an increase in the chances of heart disease. Typically, people living in poverty are less able to access wholesome foods and must turn to cheaper, unhealthy foods. The likelihood of developing heart problems when living in poverty as a child is 82% higher than for a middle or upper-class child. Smoking and diabetes also have a link to living in poverty and both of these would lead to a higher chance of acquiring cardiovascular disease.
3D Printing in Medicine
3D printing has been used recently in the field of medicine. One of the newer inventions is printing pills. Some of the goals for this project are to make pills in different forms that will make them more appealing to children or to form the pills into a shape that is easier to swallow. A goal for a 2015 project with Spritam was to have the medicine dissolve quicker by printing it in a layered way.
3D Printing Solving Heart Transplant Obstacles
As heart disease dominates countries, a team in Israel is creating a new solution by taking the pill innovations and developing it in a more complex way. A university in Israel, known as Tel Aviv University, houses the ideas and workings of a 3D printed heart intended for future human use. Organ transplants can be very problematic, for a person needs to wait an unpredictable amount of time for a new organ to save their life. The innovation of a 3D printed heart able to be transplanted into the human body is promising. The University’s creation is the first heart made with human parts: tissues and blood vessels. The 3D printed heart can solve another issue involving transplants, refusal. Patients are more likely to accept the heart because the 3D printed creation is composed of the tissue from the patient.
For people with life-threatening conditions such as heart disease, the innovation of 3D printing for heart transplants makes an organ transplant a much more viable option.
– Hailee Shores