SPOKANE, Wash --- Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital in Spokane is 3-D printing hearts so cardiologists can familiarize themselves with the problem before the actual surgery.

There are 15 3-D printed hearts that pediatric heart physicians are using to plan and practice complex heart procedures at Providence Sacred Heart.

“It really allows you to sort of evaluate the anatomy and see if an operation is feasible,” said pediatric heart physician, Dr. Carl Garebedian.

Dr. Garebedian works with children who have congenital heart disease. He said cardiologists like himself spend a lot of time with the 3-D printed hearts to familiarize themselves with the anatomy. Meaning they can put their patient’s heart under the knife, before actually going under the knife.

Dr. Garebedian said these models have even helped him and his colleagues find more surgical options than they would using X-rays.

“Something about holding it in your hand and actually taking a piece of paper and saying if I’m going to be a patch what’s the patch going to do and how is that going to affect the value,” said Garebedian.

It costs $1,000 to print the models, and it is not covered by health insurance. Donations to the Children’s Miracle Network can help pay for these 3-D models for people in need.

“Things like this make a difference and that’s why donor dollars are so important to our Children’s Hospital because we can bring in state of the art technology when insurance companies and families can’t afford it,” said Children’s Hospital employee, Kristen Carlile.

“The parents think it’s absolutely fantastic they want to put it in their baby books if you will and I let them take it home with them when we’re done,” said Garebedian.