Echocardiography, perhaps even more so than other imaging modalities, lends itself well to the use of apps, websites, and other e-learning modalities.
We’ve recently reviewed several apps related to echocardiography.
Here we take a look at EchoSource – an app that aims to teach the basic principles of and technique for echocardiography.
The developers behind EchoSource also have other apps focused on cardiology including CathSource and ECGSource. Overall, EchoSource is well designed for its purpose and is a great resource for anyone learning echocardiography.
The app opens to a general Home screen which lists the name of the apps author, Dr. Rocky Bilhartz, who is a practicing cardiologist in Texas. Dr. Bilhartz is also responsible for other cardiology related apps like ECGSource and CathSource. As an aside, one nice change here would be to have the Home screen display only briefly and then take the user automatically to a content page rather than adding an unnecessary click through.
Tapping over the Index, we are presented with a long list of topics organized largely from a general overview of echocardiography to increasingly complex pathology.
Each topic is organized similarly as a mix of a written overview of the topic with images and videos present. Personally, I found the history of echocardiography section to be an interesting read. Skipping onwards to the TTE – Procedure section, we get a nice overview of how to perform a complete exam including tips on how to get better windows. The included images that show probe position can be tapped on to show video of what the corresponding echo images will look like.
Similarly, the Standard TTE Views section includes drawings of the usual views with labeled structures and wall segments. These are linked to the same videos as in the TTE Procedure section.
There are some notable exceptions here. For example, these sections do not include the RV views obtained from the parasternal long axis view or the AoV level view in the short axis.
Continuing with a general overview of echo principles, subsequent sections cover topics like assessment of LV systolic function and hemodynamics. In general, the explanations are well written and paired well with images and video as supplements.
Finally, there are several sections focused on different types of pathology organized generally as either valvular or clinical. The valvular disorders are pretty comprehensively covered, covering even rare topics like tricuspid and pulmonic stenosis. There is also a selection of clinical disorders including topics like pericardial effusions, intracardiac masses, VSD, and more.
Notable missing topics include ischemic cardiac disease and cardiomyopathy. For example, a great topic would be correlating vascular territory to wall motion abnormalities or the mechanical findings associated with dilated cardiomyopathy like mitral regurgitation. The app includes references to source material for the most part. The references are mostly shorthand (i.e. journal, year, page, etc) and are not linked – actually getting them is fairly tedious.
The last tab on our navigation bar is to a searchable listing of the available images and videos.
- Well written explanations of basic echocardiography principles and technique
- Fairly comprehensive coverage of valvular pathology
- Good use of multimedia for teaching purposes
- Missing some important, albeit more advanced, parts of the echo exam
- Missing a few key topics
- Referencing is done in shorthand and not linked out
- This would be a particularly useful feature in an app where we’d anticipate the user would want to know more about certain topics
- Overall, EchoSource is a solid tool for the echocardiography learner, providing a well written and readable overview of basic echo concepts and technique as well as a selection of pathology. At a reasonable price point, it’s a good supplement tool for echo learners looking for a mobile resource.