In recent years, advances in medical imaging and three-dimensional (3D) additive manufacturing techniques have increased the use of 3D-printed anatomical models for surgical planning, device design and testing, customization of prostheses, and medical education. Using 3D-printing technology, we generated patient-specific models of mitral valves from their pre-operative cardiac imaging data and utilized these custom models to educate patients about their anatomy, disease, and treatment. Clinical 3D transthoracic and transesophageal echocardiography images were acquired from patients referred for mitral valve repair surgery and segmented using 3D modeling software. Patient-specific mitral valves were 3D-printed using a flexible polymer material to mimic the precise geometry and tissue texture of the relevant anatomy. 3D models were presented to patients at their pre-operative clinic visit and patient education was performed using either the 3D model or the standard anatomic illustrations. Afterward, patients completed questionnaires assessing knowledge and satisfaction. Responses were calculated based on a 1–5 Likert scale and analyzed using a nonparametric Mann–Whitney test. Twelve patients were presented with a patient-specific 3D-printed mitral valve model in addition to standard education materials and twelve patients were presented with only standard educational materials. The mean survey scores were 64.2 (±1.7) and 60.1 (±5.9), respectively (p =0.008). The use of patient-specific anatomical models positively impacts patient education and satisfaction, and is a feasible method to open new opportunities in precision medicine.

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