Get yourself a copy of Pocket Heart (iTunes price is $5.99) and you’ll immediately be impressed by this app. Yes, the graphics and animations will be what first grabs your attention, but you’ll soon find out in this review that Pocket Heart is truly a good learning tool for cardiac anatomy and physiology.

What I liked about this application:
  • This app is very well designed and I presume that the programming involved is also very elegant given the nature of the graphics.
  • It’s really quite comprehensive in terms of its cardiovascular information, though definitely is more concerned with breadth rather than depth (i.e. this isn’t going to be enough info about the heart for medical students’ cardiac anatomy or physiology).
  • I’m a very visual learner, so the ability to rotate, enlarge and move around the heart are great features! The added heart beat showing the direction of blood flow are also nice touches. But the added ability to turn all of these features on and off is even more thoughtful.
  • The Quiz section is actually pretty good for testing concepts and there is also good variety in terms of types of quizzes available.
  • The Video Tips (could also be called Help function) are a great little bonus.

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What I did not like about this application:
  • Not much actually…you have to be a bit patient for a few seconds as the app loads and when switching from one section to another – that’s really as hard as I can be on this app in its current form, but do see the “what I would like to see in future updates” heading below for how I’d like to see the program improved.
  • I’m not sure that it would be that makes much of a difference, but one downside is that the program only works in Portrait mode, and therefore not in Landscape.
What I would like to see in future updates:
  • Addition of some basic cardiac pathology information would be helpful, primarily in the Heart Info section, with corresponding images of the major cardiovascular changes.
  • I’d like to see more of the vascular system (rather than just cardiac) in the Explore section of the app, for instance with the inclusion of models such as the pulmonary and portal circulations; I’d also love to see the ability to show a very basic model/outline of the lungs and perhaps other nearby organs to get a better sense of the regional anatomy
  • If the developers really want to be bold, adding some cardiac embryology to the app would be wonderful.

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Who this App would be good for:
  • This app is great for medical students and other health professional students.
  • It is also good for anyone else who wants to learn more about the heart in an engaging and interactive way.

I really liked this app, even though it is somewhat basic in terms of its information level. The graphics are great and the app is designed very well. As a supplementary learning tool for students in health profession schools or even baccalaureate programs in biology or physiology this app will be a welcome change to having your head stuck in a textbook.

Please note the following on upcoming updates, straight from the developer:

“We’ve just submitted version 1.1 to Apple…(decreased loading times, improved usability, more intuitive labels, and new logo!)

Next version will include more detailed modeling of the heart along with added exterior vessels.”