Pediatric Cardiology

, Volume 40, Issue 6, pp 1258–1265 | Cite as

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. FarooqiEmail author
Original Article


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.



This work was supported in part by the Rachel Cooper Innovative Technologies Fund. We would like to thank the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, medical school class of 2021 for their participation in this study. This publication was supported in part by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health, through Grant Number UL1TR001873. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All authors have read and approved the manuscript. The other authors have nothing to disclose.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary file1 (DOCX 750 kb)
246_2019_2146_MOESM2_ESM.docx (881 kb)
Supplementary file2 (DOCX 880 kb)

Supplementary file3 (WMV 10194 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer Smerling
    • 1
  • Charles C. Marboe
    • 2
  • Jay H. Lefkowitch
    • 2
  • Martina Pavlicova
    • 3
  • Emile Bacha
    • 4
  • Andrew J. Einstein
    • 5
    • 6
  • Yoshifumi Naka
    • 7
  • Julie Glickstein
    • 8
  • Kanwal M. Farooqi
    • 8
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsColumbia University Irving Medical CenterNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of PathologyColumbia University Irving Medical CenterNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Department of Biostatistics, Mailman School of Public HealthColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  4. 4.Division of Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery, Department of SurgeryColumbia University Medical CenterNew YorkUSA
  5. 5.Division of Cardiology, Department of MedicineColumbia University Irving Medical CenterNew YorkUSA
  6. 6.Department of RadiologyColumbia University Irving Medical CenterNew YorkUSA
  7. 7.Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Department of SurgeryColumbia University Irving Medical CenterNew YorkUSA
  8. 8.Division of Cardiology, Department of PediatricsColumbia University Irving Medical CenterNew YorkUSA

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