Technology saves man on the brink of death

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The Gregorio Marañón Hospital where the breakthrough in 3D printing took place. Source: Wikipedia

3D Printing technology has saved the life of a man admitted to the Gregorio Marañón Hospital in Madrid with a ruptured artery in his heart.

José Julio was admitted to the hospital on the verge of bleeding to death with a laceration in his aorta.

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Specialists in the hospital, including Javier Rio Gomez, specialist in Angiology and Vascular Surgery, were faced with an important decision to make against the clock.

“We had to explain the difficult situation to the patient. The injured area of the aorta was very delicate and it was necessary to intervene by inserting a prosthesis as soon as possible, but if it was ordered from the pharmaceutical industry, it would not be available until about 30 days later.” Explained Gomez.

With the resources available to the, doctors raced to manufacture, on site at the world renowned laboratory, a 3d printed prosthetic to replace the injured muscle.


Using data from the patient’s scans, the laboratory manufactured a mould, printed the prosthetic, sterilised it and delivered it to the operating room within the space of 10 hours, greatly reducing the normal delivery time from an external source.

The result of this teamwork was the design of a prosthesis that “exactly” matched José Julio’s aorta, repairing the injured area while respecting those holes necessary to maintain the flow of blood vessels essential for life.


“I went from being in a very critical situation in which any movement could break the aorta and die to leaving the hospital with a fantastic postoperative and painless,” explains patient Julio.

This case is the first of its kind in Spain, after the use of 3d printing has had numerous successful medical applications in the United States.




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