H

oping to reduce the dangers of high-risk heart valve procedures, more doctors are relying upon 3-D printing to create models of hearts identical in shape and size to the hearts of their patients.

And a chorus of cardiologists believes 3-D models, used to better plan for heart valve replacements, have made tricky procedures faster and safer — freeing hospitals to accept patients who were rejected for open-heart surgery and left with nowhere else to turn. They’re calling for more medical institutions and, eventually, insurers to get on board with a practice found at a small but growing number of hospitals, including ones in Texas, Michigan, and Maryland.

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