Public web-site: 3D-Virtual-Baby-Heart


The 3D VIRTUAL BABY HEART project (2018-2020) is founded by the Italian Ministry of Health (GR-2016-02365072)

Partners: BiocardioLab, Fondazione Toscana “G Monasterio”, Massa, Italy; adult cardiosurgery and pediatric cardiology units of FTGM and the Laboratory of Perceptual Robotics (PERCRO) of the Scuola  Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, Italy.

We pledge to provide a 3D-printed and Virtual replica of any CHD patient’s heart in anticipation of surgery or catheterization.

The main objective od this project is to design an engineering workflow based on 3D Printing techniques and Virtual and Mixed Reality enviroment for supporting physical pre-operative planning

The final goal of this project is to test whether the systematic integration of 3D models in daily practice may change the surgical/interventional approach to complex CHDs defects thus saving times and costs and lately ameliorating outcomes.

3D models are gaining consensus in different medical fields to plan surgical strategies and build materials/prosthesis able to adapt to a given anatomy for a given subject. Despite recent advances in current imaging techniques for the diagnosis of CHDs, they all present important limitations in 3D visualization.  Thus the surgeon is often forced to rely on personal experience and/or on intra-operative findings. The use of 3D models may allow a better understanding of complex 3D anatomy, simulation of surgical manoeuvres and test of proper size materials. Dynamic models may also be able to explain dynamic lesions and provide additional information on heamodynamic physiological mechanisms. Furthermore 3D models may have an important role in training and teaching. The use of 3D models may ameliorate the surgical plan of children with complex congenital cardiac and tracheal defects, reduce times and costs of interventions, and lately ameliorate outcomes.

Our aim is to test the accuracy and the incremental diagnostic value of 3D stereo-lithographic and virtual models in children undergoing cardiac surgery for complex congenital heart disease (CHDs). 3D models may offer advantages over traditional imaging examinations:

  1. a deeper understanding of 3d anatomy in complex defects allowing visual and tactile inspection from any point of view
  2. the possibility to interact with a tangible replica of the real heart
  3. to simulate and plan surgical maneuvers on the printed and virtual model thanks to Virtual Reality technologies.