I still vividly recall my cardiology rotation as a medical student. My attending was highly intelligent, but had a reputation for being a bit intimidating. On rounds the Socratic method of questioning never stopped! Since this was a cardiology rotation, it wasn’t just questions about what you knew, but also questions about what you heard! I would have sworn my attending had “golden ears” and a “magical” stethoscope. He heard things that to this day I can’t believe the human ear could perceive. Later in the day, we would review our patient’s echocardiograms and the attending had been correct in everything he heard on cardiac auscultation.

Previously on iMedicalApps, we reviewed a number of apps for assisting providers in learning the skills of cardiac auscultation including Auscultation Primer, one of our favorites and also available for Android. We were less than impressed with Heart Sounds Stethoscope. On my device currently, I have the 3M Littmann SoundBuilder app. Both iOS and Android app stores are filled with many other alternatives. One of those that were recently updated is the Heart Sound Challenge from the University of Michigan Medical School. In the past, we have been impressed with a number of the free apps from the UM including Entrain, Nerve Whiz, Neuro Localizer, Anticoagulation Toolkit, and EyesHaveIt. The Heart Sound Challenge was created by Dr Richard Judge, MD, FACC, a cardiologist at the UM Medical School. The app attempts to teach learners the basic eight cardiac auscultation cadences (normal S1/S2, split S1/S2, S3, S4, etc.) in a simple yet interactive fashion.

Clinical Scenario

You are a 3rd year medical student starting your cardiology rotation. Your attending asks you to describe and sound out the differences between an S3 and S4. Can you do that? On rounds, your attending asks you if your patient’s murmur is systolic or diastolic. Can you do that? Let’s see if the Heart Sound Challenge can help!

Video Review

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Evidence based medicine

The Heart Sound Challenge app takes the 8 basic cardiac cadences from normal S1/S2 to split S1/S2 to S3/S4 and basic murmurs and teaches them in an interactive format. Learners can read the basics of each sound while listening in the app’s Primer section. Next, they can compare one sound to another simultaneously in the Comparison mode. Finally, learners can test themselves on a 24 item random heart sound “challenge” composed of variations of the 8 cadences.

What providers would benefit from this Medical App?

Students, residents, mid-levels, Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Emergency Medicine, Cardiology, nursing personnel. Any provider who uses a stethoscope or wants to review the basics of cardiac auscultation.

Disclaimer: The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not reflect the official policy of the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government.

  • Price
    • Free
    • Easy to use, intuitive interface.
    • Detailed text information for each cardiac cadence.
    • Includes primer, comparison and testing modes.
  • Dislikes
    • App limited to 8 basic cardiac sounds/cadences.
    • Requires ear buds.
    • No Android version.
  • Overall

    The Heart Sound Challenge from the University of Michigan Medical School is another hit! They continue to produce free, useful medical apps for students and residents. This medical app reviews the basics of cardiac auscultation and includes both a teaching and testing mode. The main limitations of the app are the lack of more than 8 different cardiac sounds and lack of an Android version.

  • Overall Score
  • User Interface

    Very easy to use and intuitive, but requires earbuds for best results.

  • Multimedia Usage

    App has embedded heart sounds for 8 common cadences with introductory “primer”, compare mode and “the challenge” test modes.

  • Price

    A great resource for free.

  • Real World Applicability

    The Heart Sound Challenge is a nice free app for students, residents or anyone who wants to review basic auscultation skills. Applicability may be limited by the lack of other heart sounds in the app besides the 8 included cadences.

  • Device Used For Review

    iPhone 6S running iOS 10.3

  • Available for DownloadiPhoneiPad