The Effect of Three-Dimensional Model on Learning of Cardiac Anatomy

Research Article

Austin J Anat. 2017; 4(1): 1061.

The Effect of Three-Dimensional Model on Learning of Cardiac Anatomy

Navid S¹, Mehdi Sajjadi S² and Khoshvaghti A³*

¹Department of Anatomical Sciences, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Iran

²Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences, Birjand University of Medical Sciences, Iran

3Aerospace Medicine Research Center, Aerospace and Subaquatic Medicine Faculty, AJA University of Medical Sciences, Iran

*Corresponding author: Khoshvaghti A, Aerospace Medicine Research Center, Aerospace and Subaquatic Medicine Faculty, AJA University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

Received: November 04, 2016; Accepted: January 05, 2017; Published: January 09, 2017


The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of a three-dimensional model in learning of cardiac anatomy.

The study was conducted at AJA University of Medical Sciences in 3 phases in 2013:

Keywords: Anatomy; Teaching; Model; Heart


The status of anatomical education in modern medical programs is a cornerstone of medicine and its related professions [1]. To serve the public’s needs, teaching approaches are modified in medical schools to educate physicians [2]. Cognitive ability to understand, mentally encode and manipulate Three-Dimensional (3D) visuospatial forms can be determined via spatial visualization ability [3]. Component processes of spatial visualization consist of a visuospatial stimulus encoding, visuospatial image construction from perceptual advice, mental rotation of the image, and changing the visual stimulus to an image in working memory [4]. The ability to relate Two- Dimensional (2D) with 3D representations can be required in some spatial visualization tasks, such as deriving a cross section, which is a 2D section of a 3D object. This ability to derive and interpret the spatial properties of cross-sections is essential in many sciences [5]. There may be good reasons for using these tools to teach human anatomy. First, the traditional teaching method of cadaver dissection may be less useful for some organs, such as the larynx. Among the anatomical structures, some are too small to dissect, such as arytenoid cartilage and some are too delicate, such as the recurrent laryngeal nerve [6,7]. Dissecting these structures is time-consuming and requires practice and dissection skills, which most medical students lack [7]. Second, using these models, the use of cadavers in anatomy medical school curricula can be decreased [8]. Finally, many of the disadvantages of cadaver dissections could be addressed by using 3D educational models [7]. Recent studies have shown that, compared to the traditional methods, 3D models of teaching anatomy are more effective and less stressful when it comes to learning difficult concepts [9-11]. In this study, a 3D model of the heart was created, and its educational value in teaching anatomy was assessed. Moreover, the effect of the 3D model on the learning of cardiac anatomy was studied. Furthermore, the effectiveness of this model was compared with the traditional approach to teaching, in most medical universities in Iran, which involves sheep heart dissection, and PowerPoint slides.

Materials and Methods

The study was conducted in three phases at AJA University of Medical Sciences in 2013. All of the participants were nursing students who had been accepted into the university via the same national exam. Three phases of the study are described below.

Phase 1: Design and preparation of the model

In this phase, a schematic representation of the cardiac section of Gray’s Anatomy for Students [12] was prepared for students (Figure 1a), and an innovative 3D model was designed (Figure 1b).