3D Heart Models: “Unique Opportunity to Get Hands-On Experience”

We are excited when our global partners benefit from technologies in education. Five junior surgeons from our partner hospitals in India and Vietnam completed an online simulation-based hands-on surgical training (HOST), focused on the repair of Tetralogy of Fallot. This course was organized by our medical volunteer partner The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto. Surgical trainees performed heart surgery on a 3D printed surgical heart model that helped create a near to real-time surgical experience. 

Training on a 3D model at Rabindranath Tagore International Institute for Cardiac Sciences, June 2021


“HOST has become a unique resource from SickKids Hospital Toronto. Using 3D printed models across a range of congenital heart defects allows surgeons to practice and perfect surgical techniques in a way that has never previously been possible. This is a very new form of surgical teaching. It provides a unique simulation of the cardiac lesion but without the stresses and time pressures of training in the operation room,” says Dr. David Barron, Children’s HeartLink medical volunteer and Head of the Division of Cardiovascular Surgery at The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto.  

The workshop included a live demonstration of the technique of a transannular patch by Dr. Barron.

“The virtual meetings have been a great success. We look forward to expanding the opportunities and being able to offer a combination of face-to-face and virtual meetings in the future. We hope that philanthropic organizations such as Children’s Heartlink will be able to work in partnership with us to offer these opportunities to surgeons in underserved parts of the world,” adds Dr. Barron.

Feedback from Trainees

“We were divided into small groups and mentored by senior surgeons who continuously watched us operate and gave suggestions when needed. Being a senior surgical resident and having seen many such surgeries in my residency, this was a unique opportunity to get hands-on experience before getting to perform such surgeries in the operation room. Since this was organized over the Zoom platform, we had projected it in our classroom, enabling many residents to benefit from the demonstration,” says Dr. Yashaskar Manjunath Rao, junior consultant cardiac surgeon at our partner hospital in India, Rabindranath Tagore International Institute for Cardiac Sciences (RTIICS), Kolkata. 

“In the operating room when we’re facing patients, young surgeons like me are often confused when assessing anatomical lesions, especially if there are unusual problems. 3D printing is an advanced and expensive technology, and to hold and work with a heart created by the 3D printing technique is like being in a dream. It looks real with the lesions as described in the textbooks! This workshop gave me a new concept and approach as well as confidence when facing real injuries on patients. In fact, I’ve already applied this knowledge to my Tetralogy of Fallot patients, with good results and shorter aortic cross-clamp time,” says Dr. Mai Dinh Duyen from Vietnam National Children’s Hospital, Hanoi.

The next HOST course will be held on December 4th, 2021. The topic will be aortic arch repair. For more information about this workshop, please read here.

Children’s HeartLink saves children’s lives by transforming pediatric heart care in underserved parts of the world. Founded in 1969, we currently support 18 partner hospitals in Brazil, China, India, Malaysia and Vietnam. Through our partnerships, we serve more than 170,000 children per year.