Cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging is a useful tool that can provide incredibly detailed structural and functional information on the heart. The European Society of Cardiology (ESC), specifically the European Association of Cardiovascular Imaging, recently brought their CMR Pocket Guide, a freely available PDF guide to CMR, to the mobile world in the CMR Pocket Guide app.
The CMR Pocket Guide app is billed as a “day-to-day companion for those new to Cardiac Magnetic Resonance (CMR) and for those looking for a quick reference guide in routine practice.” We’ve seen some cardiology apps for other imaging modalities, specifically echocardiography apps where there are a number of great apps out there.
More specifically, it’s intended for clinicians who actually perform CMR (i.e radiologists or cardiologists). For non-imaging specialists, including those who may consider ordering CMR in practice, there is some useful information.
No registration or other personal information is required to use this medical app.
From the Home Screen, we can navigate to the Index or Calculators by tapping on either the bottom left or right of the screen. That’s the basic navigation scheme of the entire app and could definitely be a lot more intuitive.
The Calculators section includes five calculators – ventricular ejection fraction (RV and LV), atrial volumes (LA and RA), and an extracellular volume calculator. Navigation, again, is challenging. There’s no menu or list of calculators, so you only discover the other calculators if you happen to swipe left or right. On the plus side, the calculators are easy to use and fields are linked so you only have to enter data like height/weight once.
The Index pulls up a table of contents similar to what is in the PDF version of the CMR Pocket Guide app. The Safety section covers some useful topics including which devices (in general) are MR-safe and the dreaded gadolinium associated nephrogenic systemic fibrosis. These are really useful topics with which anyone who uses MRI in practice should be familiar.
The rest of this medical app focuses on image acquisition. The Planning section includes topics like how to orient image planes to get image stacks that focus on specific structures like the right ventricle or aorta. That’s a useful tool for anyone that reviews CMR images or is learning how to perform CMR. However, these images don’t expand to larger images and the pinch-to-zoom doesn’t quite do the images justice – that’s a deficiency that limits usefulness that’s seen throughout the app.
The Acquisition and Clinical Indications sections focus on the specifics of image acquisition (i.e. protocols) and reporting of results. For example, the section on early and late enhancement details things like image timing, resolution, and contrast administration. Many sections include tips on image optimization gleaned from experienced imaging specialists.
And at the bottom, there is a Normal Values section at the end that would be helpful to anyone learning to read CMR.
References for information in the app are included throughout though they are not hyperlinked. Finally, as of this review, the app appears to be actively supported with a recent update in April 2016.
- Reliably sourced information from a reputable organization
- Tips & Tricks sections are full of pearls gleaned from experience
- Calculators are easy to use
- Navigation is cumbersome and could be far more intuitive
- Targets a very niche audience
The CMR Pocket Guide app is a useful and free app intended for a niche group of imaging specialists who perform cardiac MRI, translating a useful resource from a professional organization into mobile form. The design and navigation needs substantial improvement, but those intended users will likely find value in this app nonetheless. One opportunity would be to repackage some of the information on clinical applications of CMR for clinicians who may find it useful in managing their patients, like general cardiologists.
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