The Heart

an interactive tutorial to teach the basic physiology of the heart

David Dewhurst and Stewart Cromar


The highly interactive program is designed to teach the basic physiology of the heart and is designed to complement and accompany a similar program (The Circulation.) covering the physiology of the circulatory vessels. It is divided into several sections accessed from a menu:

Introduction: - structure and function of the cardiovascular system;

The Heart:

  • gross structure - chambers and major blood vessels, the wall of the heart and the pericardium;
  • heart valves - structure and function of atrioventricular and semi-lunar valves;
  • histology - cardiac muscle and pacemaker cells;
  • excitation - spread of depolarization and the ECG;
  • heart sounds
  • the cardiac cycle - pressure and volume changes;
  • cardiac output - control by autonomic nerves, hormones and autoregulation.

High quality colour graphics are used extensively throughout the program and features such as animation and a Hypertext facility are used to enhance student learning. The program is highly interactive and uses several features to promote this. For example students are required to:

a) label diagrams by "dragging" labels from a list and "dropping" them into the box corresponding to the correct position on the diagram;

b) interpret recordings of pacemaker cell action potentials to better understand the effect of autonomic nerves on heart rate.

In addition they must answer a variety of questions included in each section. These may be multiple choice, selecting correct phrases from a list to complete a statement, and true/false questions with feedback.

Language Versions: English

Recommended System Requirements:

  • Windows:
    • Microsoft Windows XP (32 bit), Windows Server 2003 (32-bit), Windows Server 2008 (32 bit), Windows Vista (32 bit), Windows 7 (32 bit and 64 bit), Windows 8
    • 2.33GHz or faster x86-compatible processor, or Intel Atom 1.6GHz or faster processor for netbooks
    • 128MB of RAM (1GB of RAM recommended for netbooks); 128MB of graphics memory
    • Internet Explorer 7.0 or later, Mozilla Firefox 4.0 or later, Google Chrome, Safari 5.0 or later, or Opera 11
  • Mac OS:
    • Mac OS X v10.6, v10.7, or v10.8
    • Intel Core Duo 1.83GHz or faster processor
    • 256MB of RAM; 128MB of graphics memory
    • Safari 5.0 or later, Mozilla Firefox 4.0 or later, Google Chrome, or Opera 11

Target Audience: Undergraduates from biological science, medical and health-related courses Suitable for primary learning, revision and as a remedial teaching resource. It covers approximately 4 one-hour lectures to first year students) and would occupy students for 4-6 hours of independent study.

Price: £250 (multiuser, educational license)

ISBN 1-874758-25-5
©2008 Sheffield Bioscience Programs

Click on one of the above screen grabs to see full size image.