Utility of 3D Printed Cardiac Models for Medical Student Education in Congenital Heart Disease: Across a Spectrum of Disease Severity

Jennifer Smerling, Charles C. Marboe, Jay H. Lefkowitch, Martina Pavlicova, Emile Bacha, Andrew J. Einstein, Yoshifumi Naka, Julie Glickstein, Kanwal M. Farooqi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


The most common modes of medical education for congenital heart disease (CHD) rely heavily on 2-dimensional imaging. Three-dimensional (3D) printing technology allows for the creation of physical cardiac models that can be used for teaching trainees. 3D printed cardiac models were created for the following lesions: pulmonic stenosis, atrial septal defect, tetralogy of Fallot, d-transposition of the great arteries, coarctation of the aorta, and hypoplastic left heart syndrome. Medical students participated in a workshop consisting of different teaching stations. At the 3D printed station, students completed a pre- and post-intervention survey assessing their knowledge of each cardiac lesion on a Likert scale. Students were asked to rank the educational benefit of each modality. Linear regression was utilized to assess the correlation of the mean increase in knowledge with increasing complexity of CHD based on the Aristotle Basic Complexity Level. 45 medical students attended the CHD workshop. Students’ knowledge significantly improved for every lesion (p < 0.001). A strong positive correlation was found between mean increase in knowledge and increasing complexity of CHD (R2 = 0.73, p < 0.05). The 3D printed models, pathology specimens and spoken explanation were found to be the most helpful modalities. Students “strongly agreed” the 3D printed models made them more confident in explaining congenital cardiac anatomy to others (mean = 4.23, ± 0.69), and that they recommend the use of 3D models for future educational sessions (mean = 4.40, ± 0.69). 3D printed cardiac models should be included in medical student education particularly for lesions that require a complex understanding of spatial relationships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1258-1265
Number of pages8
JournalPediatric Cardiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 15 Aug 2019
Externally publishedYes


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