A congenital heart defect 3D model library

The 3D Heart Project offers interactive and educational heart models, instructional videos, and descriptions of congenital heart defects (CHD). We focus on providing learning resources for families and doctors in training. We empower learners to see what a real heart looks like, and do so at their own pace. We visualize all kinds of defects, from the most common to the rare.

For every patient, every family, real hearts.

We’re a small but mighty team that has come together to work on a big mission: to create an open and free CHD educational resource, across the world. Anyone who takes care of a child with a special heart can better their knowledge.

view our example heart

Our history

The 3D Heart Project is a joint collaboration between the Stollery Children's Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit and the Learning Design Studio at the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry. Founded in 2019, Dr. Charles Larson sought to answer the question, “How might we better 3D visualize congenital heart disease to teach residents and patients?” 

Our project started with an undergraduate practicum project between the PCICU program and two Bachelor of Industrial Design students (Cody Wesley & Trina Bloemen) interning with the Learning Design Studio. This foundation set up the groundwork for the 3D Heart Project to be able to expand and receive grant funding. 

With this grant funding, since 2019 we have been able to print more models, purchase our own 3D printing equipment, share models with patients, and teach sessions with residents for qualitative research purposes. We are ready for the 3D Heart Project to grow and benefit more learners!

Our team

We’re a group of doctors, designers, engineers, cardiac families, and super geniuses with a mission to improve congenital heart defect education.

Dr. Carolina Escudero

Pediatric Cardiologist, Associate Professor, heart rhythm specialist

Every day I get to work with patients and families affected by congenital heart disease and heart rhythm disorders. I also help teach doctors and future doctors how to care for children affected by heart disease. I am excited that this project allows doctors in training, patients, and families to learn about congenital heart disease by allowing them to see what these hearts actually look like. In my spare time I raise my 4 boys and enjoy the outdoors with my family whenever I can.

Cindy Chen


I am an industrial designer who loves model-making and transforming 2D elements into 3D. Initially, I joined the project with little to no knowledge of heart anatomy. However, through the help of the interactive heart models that the project offered, I was able to learn about them with ease! Now, I am on the way to creating more models to help others who have similar experiences. Seeing how excited people are when holding an anatomically correct heart model for the first time is one of the biggest joys I have when working on this project. I am so excited to share these heart models and see how you will use them!

Nicole Pernal


I am a member of the design team in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Alberta. I specialize in Visual Communication Design, and I aim to improve the experiences of learners, educators, patients, and clinicians through means of multidisciplinary design. I take a user-centered and problem-solving approach to my work to achieve longevity and meaningful designs. Happy to continue helping with this project!

Patrick Von Hauff


I am a professional designer with 15 years of experience in my field. Much of my work has been in the area of public health and health promotion, and more recently in health science education. I have taught as a sessional and principle instructor of a course in design research and methods. My work is interesting and varied— I have worked on online courses, software, simulations, educational games, digital media & storytelling, data visualization, face-to-face activities, among other things.

Brianne Hall

Cardiac parent

I’m the mother of a child with a congenital heart defect. My son Jacob was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome and spent 60% of his first year of life in the hospital. I truly understand the range of emotions that families feel when they learn about their child’s diagnosis and undergo procedures because I have lived it too. As a sign language interpreter, I also understand how crucial communication and education are for heart families. Medical innovation is constantly evolving, and with that comes the ability to improve care using new teaching tools and technology, such as 3D heart models. I’m honoured to provide a family’s perspective to this project, in hopes to be a bridge between the innovation behind these exciting new ideas, and the families who will benefit from them.

Jared Sheridan

Pediatric Cardiology fellow, Stollery Children's Hospital

I am training to become an expert in children’s heart disease. When families first learn their child has a heart condition, it can be pretty scary. The 3D heart project will give us the tools to help families understand their child’s unique heart, and will makes the journey through the hospital a little less frightening. I am excited to share these models with our patients and families in order to revolutionize how we explain heart disease, and make that experience seamless and inviting.

Michael McNally

Associate Professor, Faculty of Education

I have a passion for working with others to figure out how information and educational resources can be shared more broadly – whether that is beyond the walls of the classroom and into the local community or across the globe. The 3D Heart Project will help to break down barriers to understanding and knowledge on children’s heart disease through physical and digital models for the benefit of parents and families as well as medical students, practitioners and educators both here and afar.

Our collaborators

Dr. Michelle Noga


Dr. Kumaradevan Punithakumar

Computer Scientist

Jessalyn Rohs

Medical student

Carol Hodgson

Research consultant, IDEAS Office

Looking to work with us? 🚀❤️

The 3D Heart Project is a growing initiative—we are a multidisciplinary team and always welcome new collaborations.

Contact Information

Please fill out the form to reach out to The 3D Heart Project team. The 3D Heart Project does not provide individual medical advice or consultation.

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