Virtual artificial heart implantation project earns tech competition award

artificial heart device

ASU doctoral student Justin Ryan has won a first-place award in a prominent international biomedical research competition by developing a new application for virtual anatomical reconstruction technology.

Ryan is pursuing a doctorate in biomedical engineering in the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, one of ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

He earned the top prize in the Cardiovascular Applications category of the Mimics Innovation Awards competition for his project titled “Virtual Total Artificial Heart Implantation for Improved Device Eligibility Criteria.”

The application would benefit people in need of heart transplants while waiting for donors in cases in which “an artificial heart can bridge the time gap between complete heart failure and transplantation,” Ryan says.

Current artificial heart devices are designed for adults, but recent cases have demonstrated their successful use in children. Using the latest in anatomical reconstruction software, and with aid from physicians, Ryan was able to virtually implant the adult artificial heart device into a structural model of a teen patient.

Depicting the implantation virtually gives surgeons a precise guide for performing actual heart transplants.

See an illustration that provides details about Ryan’s new application.

The project stems from his work as part of the research team led by David Frakes, an assistant professor of biomedical and electrical engineering at ASU. The team is developing individualized, highly detailed three-dimensional physical models of hearts to guide planning for cardiovascular surgery.

Ryan has helped set up a process to produce custom-made heart models using 3-D printing technology at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

The Mimics competition is sponsored by Materialise, a company based in Belgium that is a leader in the fields of software development and advanced 3-D printing technology used in prototyping.

The winners of first-place 2013 Mimics Innovation Awards in other categories of the competition include students from Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Illinois, Affiliated Hospital of Guangshou Medical College in China, Ghent University Hospital in Belgium, and the Biomechanics Research Centre of the National University of Ireland, Galway.