The Use of Virtual Reality Echocardiography in Medical Education

Donnchadh Martin O’Sullivan, Ross Foley, Kate Proctor, Sarah Gallagher, Aoife Deery, Benjamin W. Eidem, Colin Joseph McMahon

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Virtual reality (VR) is a relatively new technology that allows an individual to experience a virtual world. This new immersive video type may be of particular usefulness in procedure-based healthcare settings. We hypothesized that VR echocardiography was non-inferior to live demonstration. Our aim was to assess the usefulness of a VR echocardiographic approach in teaching echocardiography to pediatric trainees compared to live demonstration. This was a single center, cross-sectional observational design. We used a Garmin VIRB® 360 and a head-mount display to record live echocardiography exams in a pediatric population. An Oculus Go™ was used to view the 360° immersive/VR videos. Trainees responded to a written questionnaire afterwards. Fifteen trainees participated in the study, each of whom had previously seen echocardiography through live demonstration teaching. Eleven respondents had previous hands-on echocardiography experience. All 15 participants confirmed that VR echocardiography is a useful teaching tool with 87% (n = 13) rating it as good or very good on a 5-point Likert scale. When asked to compare VR to live demonstration, 67% (n = 10) rated VR echocardiography as the same or better than live demonstration. One of the participants reported a side effect, namely mild and self-resolving dizziness. VR echocardiography is a safe, inexpensive and practical way for trainees to learn echocardiography. The addition of VR echocardiography to the arsenal of teaching tools may enrich the learning experience for trainees.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)723-726
Number of pages4
JournalPediatric Cardiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • Echocardiography
  • Medical education
  • Training
  • Virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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