Jones TW, Seckeler MD. Use of 3D models of vascular rings and slings to improve resident education. Congenital Heart Disease. 2017,12(5):578-582


OBJECTIVE: Three-dimensional (3D) printing is a manufacturing method by which an object is created in an additive process, and can be used with medical imaging data to generate accurate physical reproductions of organs and tissues for a variety of applications. We hypothesized that using 3D printed models of congenital cardiovascular lesions to supplement an educational lecture would improve learners' scores on a board-style examination.
DESIGN AND INTERVENTION: Patients with normal and abnormal aortic arches were selected and anonymized to generate 3D printed models. A cohort of pediatric and combined pediatric/emergency medicine residents were then randomized to intervention and control groups. Each participant was given a subjective survey and an objective board-style pretest. Each group received the same 20-minutes lecture on vascular rings and slings. During the intervention group's lecture, 3D printed physical models of each lesion were distributed for inspection. After each lecture, both groups completed the same subjective survey and objective board-style test to assess their comfort with and postlecture knowledge of vascular rings.
RESULTS: There were no differences in the basic demographics of the two groups. After the lectures, both groups' subjective comfort levels increased. Both groups' scores on the objective test improved, but the intervention group scored higher on the posttest.
CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated a measurable gain in knowledge about vascular rings and pulmonary artery slings with the addition of 3D printed models of the defects. Future applications of this teaching modality could extend to other congenital cardiac lesions and different learners.

Author's keywords: 3D printing; medical education; pediatric cardiology

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