Content-based image retrieval (CBIR) aims at retrieving from a database objects that are similar to an object provided by a query, by taking into consideration a set of extracted features. While CBIR has been widely applied in the two-dimensional image domain, the retrieval of3D objects from medical image datasets using CBIR remains to be explored. In this context, the development of descriptors that can capture information specific to organs or structures is desirable. In this work, we focus on the retrieval of two anatomical structures commonly imaged by Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Computed Tomography (CT) techniques, the left ventricle of the heart and blood vessels. Towards this aim, we developed the Area-Distance Local Descriptor (ADLD), a novel 3D local shape descriptor that employs mesh geometry information, namely facet area and distance from centroid to surface, to identify shape changes. Because ADLD only considers surface meshes extracted from volumetric medical images, it substantially diminishes the amount of data to be analyzed. A 90% precision rate was obtained when retrieving both convex (left ventricle) and non-convex structures (blood vessels), allowing for detection of abnormalities associated with changes in shape. Thus, ADLD has the potential to aid in the diagnosis of a wide range of vascular and cardiac diseases.