A stunning visual experience for patients, families, and physicians explaining common pediatric heart defects.

Heart murmurs are exceedingly common in children — including newborns. Most murmurs are benign flow murmurs that will simply “disappear” as the child grows. However, some murmurs are the mark of serious and even life-threatening cardiac defects.

During medical school, we “cram” information about these defects for testing purposes, but many of us in family medicine may never see a patient with Tetralogy of Fallot. Other providers such as pediatric cardiologists and other peds subspecialists see these patients on a daily basis. Explaining these complex conditions with patients is challenging as the normal heart anatomy is challenging enough. The surgeries to repair these conditions is frightening and can be complex and dangerous for the very small patients they are frequently carried out upon. Thankfully, the team at Cincinnati Children’s Heart Institute has teamed up with Critical Care Media Lab to create a free, interactive guide to these defects and their repair called Heartpedia.

The app has 3D models of more than 12 different defects. Each section included detailed text explaining the condition, symptoms, repair, risks, and outcomes. Additionally, each model can be viewed on different planes/axis, labels on/off. Finally, a quality YouTube video rounds out the explanation of each defect with more quality animation/explanations. This is truly an app that can be used at the point of care to bring further understanding to families on these complicated conditions. 

Evidence-based medicine

Heartpedia is an app for patients, families, and medical providers to explain the most common pediatric heart defects and their repair. The app is written by a team of pediatric cardiologists and heart surgeons at the Cincinnati Children’s Heart Institute. The app appears to be based on both medical evidence/literature and expert opinion. No references/links are provided. 

What providers would benefit from this App?

Students, residents, mid-levels, primary care, pediatrics, and peds subspecialists. The app should be prescribed to patients and their families with these defects and used at the point of care to explain the defect and potential repair options/risks/outcomes. 


o Free.


  • High-quality 3D models of heart defects with labels, animation, and links to videos
  • Extensive explanatory text for each defect explaining surgical correction/outcomes
  • Available for Android


  • Videos not embedded in the app — requires connection to YouTube
  • No references provided for data on outcomes
  • Fine as is, but could divide information into sections for patients/families and providers


The new Heartpedia app from Cincinnati Children’s Heart Institute and Critical Care Media Lab have delivered a knockout app for viewing and explaining children’s heart defects. The app covers all the “common” (and uncommon) defects in a stunning visual and text-based app that is sure to be popular with any provider who cares for these patients. The app is written to be usable by patients/parents, but likely best used in conjunction with their providers to help further explain the complexity of these defects and their repair. This is a true winner and is available for free. 

Overall Score

o 5.0 stars.

User Interface

o 5.0 stars.

Easy to use with all defects available off homepage with self-explanatory labels across bottom and top to toggle between models, tags, text, and videos. 

Multimedia Usage

o 5.0 stars.

Truly a model for other app developers to follow, the app has quality 3D models that you can toggle between normal, defect, repair. The app also has links to videos showing detailed animations of the same. All materials geared for patients and families (but also great for providers to use as a point of care teaching tool). 


o 5.0 stars.

App is free.

Real World Applicability

o 4.5 stars.

Although not every provider out there takes care of children with heart defects, any provider in primary care from pediatrics to family medicine will encounter these patients throughout their careers. This app provides a fantastic visual and text explanation of not only the defects but their repair. The quality of the 3D models and videos is outstanding. Highly recommended. 

Device Used For Review

o iPhone 11 Pro running iOS 13.2. 

Available for iPhone, iPad, and Android.

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.