Echocardiography is a key part of cardiac assessment – its ordered by clinicians for everything from vague complaints of fatigue and dyspnea to seeing if there is a valvular cause for that “new” murmur.

As with any imaging test, there are a lot of normal tests and a lot of common abnormalities. There are also a lot of rare and obscure findings that pop up.

The team behind Cardio3 has built an extensive repository of echo images, accessible through the Cardio3 Comprehensive Atlas of Echocardiography.

Its potentially a great resource given its breadth and depth – however the app’s poor organization and design problems cause it to fall far short of living up to that promise.

The open opens to a generic description of its features as well as a listing of contributing authors and the usual disclaimers. It worth noting that the authors appear to be mostly cardiologists.

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The app has two options in its navigation bar – Textbook and Echocardiograms. To get started, we tap over to Echocardiograms and are presented with essentially a chapter summary of the app’s content.

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Going into the first option – What’s New – we get a long listing of several echo images with notations about the specific views, both 2D and 3D. Tapping back to the Textbook section, it has now become a chronological list of what’s been added. Right away, we see that the last addition was in February 2012.

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Going back to Echocardiograms, we click through to the first option – a partial anomalous pulmonary venous return. As an example of the sloppy design of the app, the title is cut off both in the complete listing (above) and here as well so its not entirely clear what we’re looking at. The video of the echo finding is pretty good.

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Going back to our chapter listing, we next check out the basic principles section. Clicking through to the Optimal BW settings, we get a nice video showing how the gain and compression settings can be adjusted to optimize image quality.

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A much less intuitive feature is that we can now click over to Textbook for a prose description of how to adjust specific settings for improved image quality. Strangely, also included is information that seems totally out of place here like tables for echo indications – nice information to have but in place I would never think to check if I was looking for it.

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Tapping back to our main chapter menu demonstrates another big problem with the app – instability – as the app seems to crash whenever doing this from any section other than What’s New.

Overall, the poor organization and overall design of the app is really quite unfortunate as there is a wealth of information hidden within. For example, there are beautiful images of prosthetic MV leak and myxomas. The depth of information here seems to be a great example of bringing the “interesting case log” of an echo lab into an app.

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We did note recent updates to a free Lite version of Cardio3 in iTunes and Google Play that appears to incorporate a search feature and different organizational structure – however there is no full version available as far as we can tell.

Price: $39.99

Platform: iOS. Also available on Android.

Likes:

  • Great depth of information
  • Good image selection

Dislikes:

  • Very poor organization of content makes use of app feel like a chore
  • Problems with app stability
  • Overpriced in comparison to other available options with similar functions
  • No search or bookmarking features

Conclusion: The content is here for a great app but the poor overall design with an associated high price point means this app has a long way to go before its a really useful and worthwhile tool. My suggestion would be that the app focus on functioning as a repository of interesting images and eliminate the Textbook – narrowing the app’s scope could make it a remarkable tool.