Brandie Thomas, her eight-year-old son, Mason, and Dr. Charles Larson look over a 3-D model of his heart built into a Tie Fighter from Star Wars in an effort to better explain to Mason why he needed a heart transplant. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

The Force is in him: Alberta boy gets ‘Star Wars’ model of his heart

Doctor used 3D models of the boy’s heart to help explain why he had to get a transplant

The Force is with this young transplant patient.

Mason Thomas was six when he received a new heart at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton. He asked to see his damaged one but it was discarded after the surgery.

To help the now eight-year-old understand why he needed a new ticker, experts printed two 3D models of the organ from his CT scans.

One model of the red muscle and its pumps was put inside a tiny TIE Fighter for the young “Star Wars” fan. The fictional space-flying vehicle is used by the Galactic Empire to fight the rebel force in the popular movie franchise.

“It’s amazing,” Mason said when he was given the models Wednesday.

“They show why my old heart couldn’t work and why I needed a new one.”

Mason was born with hypoplastic left-heart syndrome, a rare congenital defect. His heart failed after a second surgery and he was on a transplant wait list for more than three years.

Dr. Charles Larson with the hospital’s pediatric cardiac intensive care unit came up with the idea for the 3D models.

“This is an anatomically accurate representation of Mason’s heart, with colours to help him understand how the blood and oxygen were flowing, and which parts of his heart were too small and failing,” he said in a statement.

Larson worked with industrial design students through the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry. Staff and students at an engineering faculty workshop then did the 3D printing.

The team has made 10 heart models so far and plans to make 10 more to be shared with other patients and families as well as with medical students, Larson said.

Mason’s mother, Brandie Thomas, said he is a logical kid who likes to know how things work.

“The question of why this happened to him bugs him the most, and seeing the heart helps give him some of the answers of what was wrong with him and why he was so sick.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Body of 21-year-old man found in Okanagan Lake

BC Coroners Service is investigting the circumstances of the man’s death

Shuswap wineries medal at national championships

Celista Estate Winery, Ovino Winery represent region at All Canadian Wine Championships

Column: Hidden painting by former Shuswap artist reveals how history repeats

Artwork by Jerome Howard Smith paints critical picture of society during late 1920s

Morning Start: Tomato juice won’t fix getting skunked

Your morning start for Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020

Passengers escape unharmed from destructive houseboat fire on Mara Lake

Cause of blaze under investigation, flames erupt about 2 a.m. Aug. 4

Airlines dispute Dr. Henry’s claim they ‘very rarely’ give accurate COVID contact tracing info

Air Canada, WestJet say they provide names and contact information

Democracy costs Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen more than $500,000

Remuneration and expenses paid to chair, directors and alternate directors comes to $542,588

Workplace design: Are you grown up enough to work from home?

Columnist Jules Galloway is the founder/owner of Evolve Design| Build

Kelowna RCMP discover more imitation firearms used in crimes

RCMP say the fake guns can be hard to distinguish from the real ones

Dyer: Replacing dam and solar power

Research indicates Canada could replace 100% of power from dams with solar, using only 13% of the land

Airborne hot dog strikes Greater Victoria pedestrian

Police called to 4200-block of Quadra Street for hot dog incident

Kootnekoff: CEWS expanded and extended

Susan Kootnekoff is the founder of Inspire Law, her diverse legal career spans over 20 years

B.C. scientist, 63, protests in trees set to be removed for Trans Mountain pipeline

Tim Takaro is reaching new heights as he tries to stall the pipeline expansion project in New Westminster

Police investigate North Okanagan truck fire

‘At this time, investigators are treating the fire as suspicious,’ says Cpl. Tania Finn

Most Read