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Electro-Cardiologists routinely insert radiofrequency probes into the heart and conduct targeted ablation procedures to correct irregular heartbeats. Current techniques are very experience and “touch” based, and require the novice cardiologist about 50 procedures to become proficient. There is a need for a functional heart model device that can be used to reduce the amount of procedures on human patients before cardiologist become proficient. Project constraints included limited software availability for segmenting accuracy, available 3D printing technology and materials, and cost to 3D print heart models due to the complex geometry. The team began with a CT scan, ITK SNAP and MIMICS segmenting software, but the heart models appeared inaccurate and were filled with holes after segmenting. The team then downloaded an accurate heart model from an open source site and printed the model in thermoplastic material using a fused deposition modeling 3D printer. Metal nodes were placed throughout the heart model, which act as points the cardiologists can practice navigating the catheter to. Attached to these nodes is a circuit board which uses LEDs to display when the cardiologist correctly touches the desired node. There is not a model currently on the market that would help cardiologists become proficient with RF ablation; therefore this model will increase the safety of human patients during a RF ablation procedure.

Publication Date



Mechanical and nuclear engineering, 3D printing, radiofrequency ablation, heart


Engineering | Mechanical Engineering | Nuclear Engineering

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Dr. Laleh Golshahi

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Dr. Karoly Kaszala

VCU Capstone Design Expo Posters


© The Author(s)

Date of Submission

August 2016

3D Heart Model for Mapping RF Ablation Sites