Published Date: November 25, 2023

Full Text Article

3D Printed Cardiac Models as an Adjunct to Traditional Teaching of Anatomy in Congenital Heart Disease-A Randomised Controlled Study

Authors: Adrian Tarca, Ngai Woo, Shahira Bain, David Crouchley, Eamonn McNulty, Deane Yim

Heart Lung Circ. 2023 Dec;32(12):1443-1450. doi: 10.1016/j.hlc.2023.09.021. Epub 2023 Nov 25.


INTRODUCTION: Three-dimensional (3D) printed cardiac models are increasingly being used for medical education, simulation and training, communication, surgical planning and research. Given the complexities of congenital cardiac anatomy, 3D printing is well suited as an adjunct to traditional teaching methods. This study aims to explore the influence of 3D printed cardiac models as a teaching aid for nurses and paediatric trainees. We hypothesise that using 3D models as an adjunct to didactic teaching methods improves knowledge and confidence levels of participants, regardless of their cardiology experience.

METHOD: A prospective randomised study was performed recruiting paediatric nurses and doctors at a tertiary paediatric hospital. All participants undertook traditional congenital cardiac teaching describing normal cardiac anatomy and seven congenital lesions of increasing complexity (atrial septal defect, ventricular septal defect, vascular ring, partial anomalous pulmonary venous return, tetralogy of Fallot, transposition of the great arteries, and double outlet right ventricle). The intervention group received an additional recorded demonstration while handling 3D printed models of a normal heart and the same lesions. Pre- and post-intervention assessments were completed using a subjective Likert-scale questionnaire and objective multiple-choice examination.

RESULTS: A total of 73 health practitioners (30 cardiac nurses and 43 paediatric trainees) were included. Subjective knowledge and confidence levels substantially improved in the intervention group (both p<0.001), with no differences observed in the control group. Greater improvement in both subjective and objective post-test scores was observed in the intervention group. A pronounced difference between pre- and post-teaching objective examination scores was found in both groups (p=0.002), with larger improvements observed in the intervention group. The mean score in the intervention group after teaching increased by 4.27 (21.4% improvement), as opposed to 2.28 (11.4% improvement) in the control group. There was no difference in pre-test score or post-test improvement based on previous cardiology experience.

DISCUSSION: Three-dimensional (3D) printed cardiac models, when used as an adjunct to traditional teaching methods, substantially improve knowledge and confidence levels of health professionals on a range of congenital cardiac lesions. These models enhance the learners' educational experience and understanding of cardiac anatomy by overcoming the limitation of two-dimensional representations of 3D structures.

PMID: 38007317DOI: 10.1016/j.hlc.2023.09.021