Borgeat K, Shearn AIU, Payne JR, Hezzell M, Biglino G. Three-Dimensional Printed Models of the Heart Represent an Opportunity for Inclusive Learning. J Vet Med Educ. 2022 Jun;49(3):346-352

PMID: 33950795


Three-dimensional (3D) printed models of anatomic structures offer an alternative to studying manufactured, "idealized" models or cadaveric specimens. The utility of 3D printed models of the heart for clinical veterinary students learning echocardiographic anatomy is unreported. This study aimed to assess the feasibility and utility of 3D printed models of the canine heart as a supplementary teaching aid in final-year vet students. We hypothesized that using 3D printed cardiac models would improve test scores and feedback when compared with a control group. Students (n = 31) were randomized to use either a video guide to echocardiographic anatomy alongside 3D printed models (3DMs) or video only (VO). Prior to a self-directed learning session, students answered eight extended matching questions as a baseline knowledge assessment. They then undertook the learning session and provided feedback (Likert scores and free text). Students repeated the test within 1 to 3 days. Changes in test scores and feedback were compared between 3DM and VO groups, and between track and non-track rotation students. The 3DM group had increased test scores in the non-track subgroup. Track students' test scores in the VO group increased, but not in the 3DM group. Students in the 3DM group had a higher completion rate, and more left free-text feedback. Feedback from 3DM was almost universally positive, and students believed more strongly that these should be used for future veterinary anatomy teaching. In conclusion, these pilot data suggest that 3D printed canine cardiac models are feasible to produce and represent an inclusive learning opportunity, promoting student engagement.