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Utility of three‐dimensional models in resident education on simple and complex intracardiac congenital heart defects

Shelby C. White1, Jennifer Sedler2, Trahern W. Jones3, Michael Seckeler1

1 Department of Pediatrics (Cardiology), University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona
2 University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson, Arizona
3 Department of Pediatrics, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona

* Corresponding Author: Shelby C. White, Department of Pediatrics (Cardiology), Banner University Medical Center – Tucson, University of Arizona, 1501 North Campbell Ave., Tucson, AZ 85724. Email: email

Congenital Heart Disease 2018, 13(6), 1045-1049.


Objective: Applications of three‐dimensional (3D) printed models in medicine in‐ clude preprocedure planning, patient education, and clinical training. Reproducing complex anatomy as a 3D printed model can be useful for understanding congenital heart defects (CHD). We hypothesized that using 3D printed models during didactic sessions with resident physicians will improve trainees’ understanding of CHD.
Design and intervention: We performed a prospective, randomized educational in‐ tervention for teaching pediatric and pediatric/emergency medicine residents about simple (ventricular septal defect [VSD]) and moderately complex (tetralogy of Fallot [ToF]) CHD. Residents were divided into two groups: intervention and control. Each group completed a subjective survey about their comfort with the anatomy, evalua‐ tion, and treatment of VSD and ToF and took an objective test on VSD and ToF. They separately received the same 20 min lecture, including projected two‐dimensional digital images of VSD and ToF; the intervention group was given 3D printed models created using the same imaging data. After the lecture, the groups repeated the sur‐ vey and test questions.
Results: Twenty‐six residents participated in the VSD session, 34 in the ToF. There were no differences in demographics between control and intervention groups. All residents had higher subjective comfort with VSD and ToF after the lectures. There was no difference in baseline test scores for VSD or ToF groups. The control group scored higher on the VSD postlecture test. The intervention group scored higher on the ToF postlecture test.
Conclusion: Incorporation of 3D printed models into lectures about CHD imparts a greater acute level of understanding, both subjective and objective, for pediatric and combined pediatric/emergency medicine residents. There does not seem to be an added benefit for understanding ventricular septal defects, but there is for tetralogy of Fallot, likely due to increased complexity of the lesion and difficulty visualizing spatial relationships in CHD with multiple components.


Cite This Article

White, S. C., Sedler, J., Jones, T. W., Seckeler, M. (2018). Utility of three‐dimensional models in resident education on simple and complex intracardiac congenital heart defects. Congenital Heart Disease, 13(6), 1045–1049.

cc This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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