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Utility of 3D printed cardiac models in congenital heart disease: a scoping review
  1. Caroline F Illmann1,2,
  2. Rouzbeh Ghadiry-Tavi3,
  3. Martin Hosking1,2,
  4. Kevin C Harris1,2
  1. 1 Children's Heart Centre, BC Children's Hospital, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  2. 2 Department of Pediatrics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  3. 3 Department of Pediatrics, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Kevin C Harris, Division of Cardiology, BC Children's Hospital, Vancouver, BC V6H 3N1, Canada; kharris2{at}


Objective Three-dimensional printing (3DP) is a novel technology with applications in healthcare, particularly for congenital heart disease (CHD). We sought to explore the spectrum of use of 3D printed CHD models (3D-CM) and identify knowledge gaps within the published body of literature to guide future research.

Methods We conducted a scoping review targeting published literature on the use of 3D-CMs. The databases of MEDLINE, EMBASE and Web of Science were searched from their inception until 19 July 2019. Inclusion criteria were primary research; studies reporting use of 3D-CMs; and human subjects. Exclusion criteria were studies where 3D-CMs were generated for proof of concept but not used; and studies focused on bioprinting or computational 3D-CMs. Studies were assessed for inclusion and data were extracted from eligible articles in duplicate.

Results The search returned 648 results. Following assessment, 79 articles were included in the final qualitative synthesis. The majority (66%) of studies are case reports or series. 15% reported use of a control group. Three main areas of utilisation are for (1) surgical and interventional cardiology procedural planning (n=62), (2) simulation (n=25), and (3) education for medical personnel or patients and their families (n=17). Multiple studies used 3D-CMs for more than one of these areas.

Conclusions 3DP for CHD is a new technology with an evolving literature base. Most of the published literature are experiential reports as opposed to manuscripts on scientifically robust studies. Our study has identified gaps in the literature and addressed priority areas for future research.

  • congenital heart disease
  • congenital heart disease surgery

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  • Contributors CFI was responsible for concept formation, search strategy design, data collection, analysis and manuscript composition. RGT contributed to data collection. KCH was the supervisory author on this project and was involved in concept formation and manuscript composition. All authors contributed to critically revising the manuscript.

  • Funding CFI was funded by a Graduate Studentship from the BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute (No 6553).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.