MANUSCRIPT: Is a Three-Dimensional Printing Model Better Than a Traditional Cardiac Model for Medical Education?
Three-dimensional (3D) printing is a newly-emerged technology converting a series of two-dimensional images to a touchable 3D model, but no studies have investigated whether or not a 3D printing model is better than a traditional cardiac model for medical education.
A 3D printing cardiac model was generated using multi-slice computed tomography datasets. Thirty-four medical students were randomized to either the 3D Printing Group taught with the aid of a 3D printing cardiac model or the Traditional Model Group with a commonly used plastic cardiac model. Questionnaires with 10 medical questions and 3 evaluative questions were filled in by the students.
A 3D printing cardiac model was successfully generated. Students in the 3D Printing Group were slightly quicker to answer all questions when compared with the Traditional Model Group (224.53 ± 44.13 s vs. 238.71 ± 68.46 s, p = 0.09), but the total score was not significantly different (6.24 ± 1.30 vs. 7.18 ± 1.70, p = 0.12). Neither the students’satisfaction (p = 0.48) nor their understanding of cardiac structures (p = 0.24) was significantly different between two groups. More students in the 3D Printing Group believed that they had understood at least 90% of teaching content (6 vs. 1). Both groups had 12 (70.6%) students who preferred a 3D printing model for medical education.
A 3D printing model was not significantly superior to a traditional model in teaching cardiac diseases in our pilot randomized controlled study, yet more studies may be conducted to validate the real effect of 3D printing on medical education.