The Use of Virtual Reality Echocardiography in Medical Education

Pediatr Cardiol. 2021 Apr;42(4):723-726. doi: 10.1007/s00246-021-02596-z. Epub 2021 Apr 15.


Virtual reality (VR) is a relatively new technology that allows an individual to experience a virtual world. This new immersive video type may be of particular usefulness in procedure-based healthcare settings. We hypothesized that VR echocardiography was non-inferior to live demonstration. Our aim was to assess the usefulness of a VR echocardiographic approach in teaching echocardiography to pediatric trainees compared to live demonstration. This was a single center, cross-sectional observational design. We used a Garmin VIRB® 360 and a head-mount display to record live echocardiography exams in a pediatric population. An Oculus Go™ was used to view the 360° immersive/VR videos. Trainees responded to a written questionnaire afterwards. Fifteen trainees participated in the study, each of whom had previously seen echocardiography through live demonstration teaching. Eleven respondents had previous hands-on echocardiography experience. All 15 participants confirmed that VR echocardiography is a useful teaching tool with 87% (n = 13) rating it as good or very good on a 5-point Likert scale. When asked to compare VR to live demonstration, 67% (n = 10) rated VR echocardiography as the same or better than live demonstration. One of the participants reported a side effect, namely mild and self-resolving dizziness. VR echocardiography is a safe, inexpensive and practical way for trainees to learn echocardiography. The addition of VR echocardiography to the arsenal of teaching tools may enrich the learning experience for trainees.

Keywords: Echocardiography; Medical education; Training; Virtual reality.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dizziness / epidemiology
  • Echocardiography / methods*
  • Education, Medical / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pediatrics / education
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Virtual Reality*