Use of 3D models of congenital heart disease as an education tool for cardiac nurses

Giovanni Biglino*, Claudio Capelli, Despina Koniordou, Di Robertshaw, Lindsay Kay Leaver, Silvia Schievano, Andrew M. Taylor, Jo Wray

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)
143 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Nurse education and training are key to providing congenital heart disease (CHD) patients with consistent high standards of care as well as enabling career progression. One approach for improving educational experience is the use of 3D patient-specific models. Objectives: To gather pilot data to assess the feasibility of using 3D models of CHD during a training course for cardiac nurses; to evaluate the potential of 3D models in this context, from the nurses' perspective; and to identify possible improvements to optimise their use for teaching. Design: A cross-sectional survey. Setting: A national training week for cardiac nurses. Participants: One hundred cardiac nurses (of which 65 pediatric and 35 adult). Methods: Nurses were shown nine CHD models within the context of a specialized course, following a lecture on the process of making the models themselves, starting from medical imaging. Participants were asked about their general learning experience, if models were more/less informative than diagrams/drawings and lesion-specific/generic models, and their overall reaction to the models. Possible differences between adult and pediatric nurses were investigated. Written feedback was subjected to content analysis and quantitative data were analyzed using nonparametric statistics. Results: Generally models were well liked and nurses considered them more informative than diagrams. Nurses found that 3D models helped in the appreciation of overall anatomy (86%), spatial orientation (70%), and anatomical complexity after treatment (66%). There was no statistically significant difference between adult and pediatric nurses' responses. Thematic analysis highlighted the need for further explanation, use of labels and use of colors to highlight the lesion of interest amongst improvements for optimizing 3D models for teaching/training purposes. Conclusion: 3D patient-specific models are useful tools for training adult and pediatric cardiac nurses and are particularly helpful for understanding CHD anatomy after repair.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-118
Number of pages6
JournalCongenital Heart Disease
Issue number1
Early online date26 Sep 2016
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017


  • 3D printing
  • Cardiovascular nursing
  • Congenital heart defects
  • Training


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