A heart model that can be expressed mathematically in a computer is desirable. Heart modeling applications can be classified into four areas : clinical, research, educational, and communications. A heart model for clinical application can be used as prior knowledge for segmentation and registration in medical image processing. A heart model for research application could be constructed each time using a combination of selected elements to reproduce the behavior of interest. However, a heart model for educational use does not necessarily have to follow actual data faithfully. A combination of visualization techniques, rich text information, and interaction is most important for effective teaching. Also, graphical information is used frequently by medical staff to explain the disease condition to patients and their families. It is important to understand what is to be communicated in such cases. For example, it is not necessarily important to represent precise shape information. In this review, we present several applications of heart models. We also introduce a novel application of a congenital heart disease model for communications uses. Finally, we discuss future perspectives in this field.
2014 Japanese Society for Medical and Biological Engineering