Educational heart models

In collaboration with Dr. Ernest Fischer, Dr. Sebastian Ochoa, Georgetown University School of Medicine, et al. 

We are using 3D printing as a tool for teaching and understanding heart ultrasonography. Ultrasounds use high frequency sound waves to create high resolution images of nearby structures. The resulting ultrasound image is a 2D/4D  image which captures key anatomical structures. There are 4 classical views of the heart which are achieved using an ultrasound. We adapted digital models to highlight these views/structures. 


Before starting this project, my knowledge of the heart was limited to whatever I might have retained from biology class--which was very little. 

When I was first approached to collaborate in the effort, I questioned what knowledge and skill I might possess which would would support the project goals. While my anatomical sense was limited, I recognized that I had a lot to offer in terms of visualization and digital fabrication. Once again, architectural principles and methods of representation (sections, perspectives) proved to be invaluable to achieving our goals. Beyond contributing to technical developments, I also developed ideas for different puzzles and tool which served as educational models in the classroom. 

Similar to my experience working on trachea stents, I was introduced to key biological processes and was eventually able to have full appreciation for the dynamics of the heart. We were able to adapt an existing model of a heart to capture specific anatomical views which we plan to replicate with an actual scan of a heart. 

The ultrasound captures a real time image of the heart, making it challenging to find the best viewing angle. The printed model offers a static view of these sections.


3D printed heart and corresponding ultrasound view


A 3-Axis Calibrated Heart Stand was created to simulate the orientation of the heart inside of the body.