Genuine Passion for Pediatric Hearts

Last week I had the privilege of accompanying Dr. Matthew Bramlet during multiple media interviews at the international American Heart Association Scientific Sessions Conference.

The news of his 3D printed heart research and NIH 3D Print Exchange collaborative project spread quickly amongst reporters covering the event, so the day was a whirlwind of phone calls and video interviews with individuals from all over the country and even one reporter at the BBC in London.

After watching Dr. Bramlet give his “spiel” over and over again, I had a realization – he wasn’t giving a “spiel” at all . . . he was speaking from his heart about the 3D printed pediatric hearts he holds so much passion for.

Passion You Can See

Bramlet showing pediatric heart model to mediaDr. Bramlet is buzzing with excitement to share his work – a 3D printed heart model project he’s working with the NIH and other doctors to expand. In-person interviews captured on video demonstrate his enthusiasm.

The reporters can see how he lights up when talking about the opportunity this project presents for pediatric cardiologists and surgeons – the opportunity to more accurately treat their small patients with complex congenital heart problems.

One reporter follows up with us afterward stating that “after 26 interviews in 2.5 days, [Dr. Bramlet’s] is by far the one that stands out to me the most and might be the coolest one I’ve done to date.”

Passion You Can Hear

During phone interviews Dr. Bramlet paces back and forth, using hand gestures as he would in a face-to-face conversation. I can tell when the person on the other end of the line reaches his own “a-ha moment” relative to this story, because Bramlet smiles and begins nodding his head in affirmation.

He speaks quickly, but it’s with a tone that fully captures his listener’s attention. It’s a tone that teeters between excitement and urgency and compels you to pay close attention.

Passion You Can Hold in Your Hand

The highlight of each interview – and the moment the reporters perk up the most – is when Dr. Bramlet describes the impact of utilizing 3D printing technology for surgical planning. “We use a ton of ultrasound and cardiac cath … but for complex cases, MRI is our primary imaging modality,” he says. “That provides us a 3D image, but it’s still within the context of a 2D screen. 3D printing allows us to pull that image off the screen and place it into the hands of surgeons to hold and study before going into the operating room.”

Then he brings out the actual 3D heart models that have been produced from real pediatric patients. And let’s the interviewers hold it in their own hands. They’re in awe. Dr. Bramlet’s passion for this important work is palpable – you can see, hear, and hold it in your hand.

Learn more about Dr. Bramlet’s 3D Heart Library.

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