Feasibility and accuracy of printed models of complex cardiac defects in small infants from cardiac computed tomography

Pediatr Radiol. 2021 Oct;51(11):1983-1990. doi: 10.1007/s00247-021-05110-y. Epub 2021 Jun 15.


Background: Three-dimensional (3-D) printed models are increasingly used to enhance understanding of complex anatomy in congenital heart disease.

Objective: To assess feasibility and accuracy of 3-D printed models obtained from cardiac CT scans in young children with complex congenital heart diseases.

Materials and methods: We included children with conotruncal heart anomalies who were younger than 2 years and had a cardiac CT scan in the course of their follow-up. We used cardiac CT scan datasets to generate 3-D models. To assess the models' accuracy, we compared four diameters for each child between the CT images and the printed models, including the largest diameters (Dmax) of ventricular septal defects and aortic annulus and their minimal diameters (Dmin).

Results: We obtained images from 14 children with a mean age of 5.5 months (range 1-24 months) and a mean weight of 6.7 kg (range 3.4-14.5 kg). We generated 3-D models for all children. Mean measurement difference between CT images and 3-D models was 0.13 mm for Dmin and 0.12 mm for Dmax for ventricular septal defect diameters, and it was 0.16 mm for Dmin and -0.13 mm for Dmax for aortic annulus diameter, indicating a non-clinically significant difference.

Conclusion: Three-dimensional printed models could be feasibly generated from cardiac CT scans in a small pediatric population with complex congenital heart diseases. This technique is highly accurate and reliably reflects the same structural dimensions when compared to CT source images.

Keywords: Children; Computed tomography; Congenital heart disease; Conotruncal defect; Heart; Three-dimensional printing.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Heart Defects, Congenital* / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Printing, Three-Dimensional*
  • Radiography
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed