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

Columbia Basin Trust seeking public feedback for new management plan

There will be a community meeting in Revelstoke in May

Racist incidents on the rise in the Okanagan as coronavirus spreads

UBCO professor not surprised by recent incidents

Ministry proposing dust control plan for Westside Rd.

Dust from industrial operations in the area is a concern

Protecting privacy key to stopping spread of COVID-19, B.C. health officials say

The number of coronavirus cases in B.C. remains at seven

Fire crews battle large blaze in West Kelowna

Reports of multiple structures on fire in the Colleen Road area

From seed to salad: Providing purpose for Okanagan inmates

“I planted every one of these, it makes me feel good, they’re like all my little babies.” - inmate Kim

Toffoli scores OT winner as Canucks beat Habs 4-3

Demko makes 37 saves for Vancouver

Pink Shirt Day campaign urges Canadians to ‘Lift Each Other Up’

Annual anti-bullying effort returns Wednesday, Feb. 26

Kelowna man charged after naked driver leads RCMP on hit-and-run spree

A Kelowna man has been charged with numerous offences

Private clinics would harm ‘ordinary’ people using public system in B.C.: lawyer

Health Minister Adrian Dix announced in 2018 that the government would begin to fine doctors $10,000

B.C. terminates contract with hospice society refusing assisted death

Delta Hospice Society loses hospital service fund of $1.5 million

Most Read