Novel, 3D Display of Heart Models in the Postoperative Care Setting Improves CICU Caregiver Confidence

Laura J. Olivieri, David Zurakowski, Karthik Ramakrishnan, Lillian Su, Fahad A. Alfares, Matthew R. Irwin, Jenna Heichel, Axel Krieger, Dilip S. Nath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Background: Postoperative care delivered in the pediatric cardiac intensive care unit (CICU) relies on providers’ understanding of patients’ congenital heart defects (CHDs) and procedure performed. Novel, bedside use of virtual, three-dimensional (3D) heart models creates access to patients’ CHD to improve understanding. This study evaluates the impact of patient-specific virtual 3D heart models on CICU provider attitudes and care delivery. Methods: Virtual 3D heart models were created from standard preoperative cardiac imaging of ten patients with CHD undergoing repair and displayed on a bedside tablet in the CICU. Providers completed a Likert questionnaire evaluating the models’ value in understanding anatomy and improving care delivery. Responses were compared using two-tailed t test and Mann-Whitney U test and were also compared to previously collected CICU provider responses regarding use of printed 3D heart models. Results: Fifty-three clinicians (19 physicians, 34 nurses/trainees) participated; 49 (92%) of 53 and 44 (83%) of 53 reported at least moderate to high satisfaction with the virtual 3D heart’s ability to enhance understanding of anatomy and surgical repair, respectively. Seventy-one percent of participants felt strongly that virtual 3D models improved their ability to manage postoperative problems. The majority of both groups (63% physicians, 53% nurses) felt that virtual 3D heart models improved CICU handoffs. Virtual 3D heart models were as effective as printed models in improving understanding and care delivery, with a noted provider preference for printed 3D heart models. Conclusions: Virtual 3D heart models depicting patient-specific CHDs are perceived to improve understanding and postoperative care delivery in the CICU.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)206-213
Number of pages8
JournalWorld Journal for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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