GR doctors use 3D technology to repair boy's heart

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The effort that went into saving 11-year-old Trent Ahlefeld of Greenville was pure science fiction just a few years ago.

Virtual reality and 3D printing are not just innovations exciting techno geeks; they’re saving lives in Grand Rapids.

Trent was born with a bad heart. Instead of four chambers, it effectively had two. His heart was also backwards and on the wrong side of his chest, and it had a gaping hole.

Starting as a newborn, Trent had undergone numerous surgeries and his parents consulted experts nationwide. He needed a new heart and lung, but the possibility of a transplant was slim.

“At that point, they had only given him a year to live and it would take them two years to get the organs we need and he wouldn’t survive it,” said Megan Thompson, Trent’s mother.

His circumstances changed when doctors at the Congenital Heart Center at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital suggested a cutting-edge surgery that could repair Trent’s heart.

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