Role of virtual reality in congenital heart disease

Congenit Heart Dis. 2018 May;13(3):357-361. doi: 10.1111/chd.12587. Epub 2018 Feb 5.


Objective: New platforms for patient imaging present opportunities for improved surgical planning in complex congenital heart disease (CHD). Virtual reality (VR) allows for interactive manipulation of high-resolution representations of patient-specific imaging data, as a supplement to traditional 2D visualizations and 3D printed heart models.

Design: We present the novel use of VR for the presurgical planning of cardiac surgery in two infants with complex CHD to demonstrate interactive real-time views of complex intra and extracardiac anatomy.

Results: The use of VR for cardiac presurgical planning is feasible using existing imaging data. The software was evaluated by both pediatric cardiac surgeons and pediatric cardiologists, and felt to be reliable and operated with a very short learning curve.

Conclusions: VR with controller-based interactive capability allows for interactive viewing of 3D models with complex intra and extracardiac anatomy. This serves as a useful complement to traditional preoperative planning methods in terms of its potential for group based collaborative discussion, user defined illustrative views, cost-effectiveness, and facility of use.

Keywords: cardiac surgery; congenital diaphragmatic hernia; congenital heart disease; truncus arteriosus; ventricular septal defect; virtual reality.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Heart Defects, Congenital / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional*
  • Models, Anatomic*
  • Virtual Reality*