Health in 3D: New App Helps Parents Visualize Their Child's Heart Disorder

Congenital heart defects (CHDs) are the most common type of birth defect in the US, affecting nearly 40,000 births each year.

One in every four congenital heart defects is a critical health need, requiring parental consent for intervention, such as surgery to repair the problem.

"The concept of having a hole between the chambers of the heart or an abnormality in cardiac anatomy can be hard for parents to grasp and remember, especially when they're learning from paper diagrams," Lindsey Ades, a fourth-year medical student at the Carle Illinois College of Medicine, says in a press release.

"We wanted to create something that parents can interact with, painting a realistic and easily understandable picture of their child's specific problem."

She and Prachi Keni, another medical student, worked with bioengineering students to design a new app using a 3D block diagram of the heart and realistic 3D images of the heart to demonstrate how common defects affect the heart's function.

The initial development of the app includes 3D images of an atrial septal defect (ASD), a ventricular septal defect (VSD), and a patent ductus arteriosus (PDA).Images of other defects could be incorporated in future versions.

It's common for children to

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