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3D printing helps doctors prepare for girl's open-heart surgery

Doctors at Miami Children's Hospital believe girl, 4, can have normal life expectancy


MIAMI – From coloring her favorite Disney character from the movie "Frozen" to playing with toys, Adaenelie Gonzalez is doing something her parents never thought the 4-year-old girl would be able to do.

"I don't know how to explain the feeling, but it's great," mother Gabriella Alonso told Local 10 News.

Adaenelie was born with a complex heart condition that doctors said was potentially fatal, causing her to have several surgeries since she was just a few weeks old.

Doctors at Miami Children's Hospital used 3D printing to create a model of Adaenelie's heart to help them prepare for open-heart surgery.

"Of course, what the parents are always very concerned about is life expectancy," Dr. Nancy Dobrolet said during a news conference Wednesday. "And I think her life expectancy potentially can be normal now, whereas before this I was really not sure."

Doctors said Adaenelie's blood supply was going to the wrong part of her heart and needed to be corrected, so she underwent surgery Friday.

Before her surgery, doctors were able to use a 3D model of her heart, which they said played a huge part in having a successful surgery.

"What's beautiful about this model is I can position it as though I was standing at the operating table," Dr. Redmond Burke said while demonstrating the model heart. "So if I'm standing at an operating table, this is how her heart would be."

Adaenelie is now preparing to go home.

"It's a blessing," father Luis Rivera said. "You know, I know that she has more years to go."

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