While on the wards, everyone tells me reading CT images takes practice, practice, and more practice. Reading CT images is becoming crucial for gross anatomy as well, when I was a first year we definitely had to read cross sectional CT images for gross anatomy tests. This ability is put to practice on the wards early on. The look on med students faces when residents try to take them through an abnormal CT image can be absolutely comical.
When I’m being taught by residents and attendings, they always tell me in order to recognize underlying pathology, you need to first know what normal looks like. What structures should you be looking for at a particular vertebral level? What bones are surrounding certain vasculature in key areas? These are just a few of the questions I was hoping the iAnatomy app, developed by Dr. Anouk Stein, would help teach.
When you open up the app you’re greeted with 4 options, Chest, Abdomen, Pelvis(male), Pelvis (female). Once you select your area of interest, you are presented with numerous slices of CT images. The abdomen section itself has 20 images. You can scroll through the different slices by sliding your fingers to the left or right. At each image, you can view labels(in the form of numbers) for Muscle, Bone, Organs, or Blood. Touching a number reveals the answer to your selection. (refer to pictures)
What I liked:
- Has over 60 actual CT scans of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis.
- Over 1000 labels to practice with.
- Definitely useful for first year medical students in gross anatomy who are tested on cross sectional images of CT scans.
- Will help improve your CT reading skills.
What I didn’t like, and what could be improved upon for the future:
- Doesn’t specifically label each vertebral body, I was really really really hoping this app would. I’m crossing my fingers for this in the next version. This version just used the broad label “vertebral body”, not T7,T8, etc).
- Zooming in and out doesn’t work that well. Double tapping is easiest.
- Once you zoom in, images lose clarity. This is especially evident when trying to look at blood vessels.
- No quiz mode.
- No head CTs.
- No landscape mode.
I liked this app, but there could definitely be some key improvements that would get me to love this app. My biggest issue is with the clarity of the CT images and the lack of labels for each vertebral bodies. Switching to landscape mode might improved some of the clarity issues. With that said, this app can definitely help improve your ability to read CT images. It can also be used by first year medical students if they have CT images on their anatomy exams (I wish I had this app during gross anatomy).
If this App was more expensive I’d have some qualms about recommending it, but with a price of only $0.99, it’s a definite must have if you want to improve your ability to read CT images. It should be noted this app doesn’t include any CT images with underlying patholgies, but as I mentioned earlier, I’ve learned in order to recognize abnormalities you need to know the baseline first. I’m definitely going to be using this in the wards.
UPDATE: There was a bit of an error initially when the pictures were posted. The wrong batch of pictures got posted on this review. One of our readers, Mathias does a great job of explaining this oversight below. There is nothing wrong with the app itself, it offers multiple viewing angles, and we just posted images from the app in an orientation not used in the clinical setting. Needless to say we put up pictures now that are more clinically relevant. Having multiple people review apps is great in terms of ideas, but sometimes it can cause oversights as this. As always, thanks to our readers for catching it!