As someone currently in the process of learning how to read echocardiograms, one fact became apparent to me very early on.
If there is a dimension, velocity, volume, or flow that can be measured, then the American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) has detailed guidelines on how they should be assessed.
However, it will be a long time before I can remember off the top of my head what the appropriate gradients across a prosthetic mitral valve should be versus a prosthetic aortic valve.
Included in the many resources out there to help in this task is the ASE Pocket Guidelines app. Taken straight from the horse’s mouth, it would be hard to find a more authoritative resource on the App Store. Here, we’ll review whether it lives up to our admittedly high expectations.
The app opens to a selection of different sections of echocardiography in the landscape mode. That the app only functions in that mode is less than ideal but not entirely unreasonable, given that rarely will you be reading an echo on the go.
The design is quite simple and straightforward, helping make this quick reference app actually quick. Unfortunately, this screen is the only place the app accomplishes that goal. Pretty much every subject area is designed the same, so here we dive into the Chamber Quantification section where we find a subsection listing the different chambers for which information is available.
Clicking on any of these choices, we are taken to tables containing the pertinent values that you’d find in the PDF guidelines available online. In general, the tables all contain the normal values as well as the ranges for varying levels of abnormal.
From here, we can swipe left and write to the see the other tables listed in the Chamber Quantification section.
Some notable features missing from the app are the ability to mark certain sections as favorites for quicker access, a search function, and links to the full pertinent ASE guideline for each section.
There are also some places where the app design is more troublesome than others, such as the segment maps for the different views. Here, the app could accomplish so much more if it, say, incorporated a 3D heart model to which it matched the 2D segments or even just color matched the same segments in different views.
- Simple design
- Poor use of the platform’s capabilities to communicate information
- No search feature
- No favorites function
- At this point, the app does not justify the price for me. Most users would be better off downloading the ASE PDF guidelines and creating their own “Pocket Guide” by putting relevant tables or information into, say, Evernote for personal use.