Ultrasound-based teaching of cardiac anatomy and physiology to undergraduate medical students

Arch Cardiovasc Dis. 2013 Oct;106(10):487-91. doi: 10.1016/j.acvd.2013.06.002. Epub 2013 Aug 2.


Background: Ultrasonography is a non-invasive imaging modality that offers the opportunity to teach living cardiac anatomy and physiology.

Aims: The objectives of this study were to assess the feasibility of integrating an ultrasound-based course into the conventional undergraduate medical teaching programme and to analyse student and teacher feedback.

Methods: An ultrasound-based teaching course was implemented and proposed to all second-year medical students (n=348) at the end of the academic year, after all the conventional modules at our faculty. After a brief theoretical and practical demonstration, students were allowed to take the probe and use the ultrasound machine. Students and teachers were asked to complete a survey and were given the opportunity to provide open feedback.

Results: Two months were required to implement the entire module; 330 (95%) students (divided into 39 groups) and 37 teachers participated in the course. Student feedback was very positive: 98% of students agreed that the course was useful; 85% and 74% considered that their understanding of cardiac anatomy and physiology, respectively, was improved. The majority of the teachers (97%) felt that the students were interested, 81% agreed that the course was appropriate for second-year medical students and 84% were willing to participate to future sessions.

Conclusions: Cardiac anatomy and physiology teaching using ultrasound is feasible for undergraduate medical students and enhances their motivation to improve their knowledge. Student and teacher feedback on the course was very positive.

Keywords: Anatomie; Anatomy; Education; Physiologie; Physiology; Pédagogie; Ultrasons; Ultrasound; Undergraduate; Étudiants.

MeSH terms

  • Anatomy / education*
  • Comprehension
  • Curriculum
  • Echocardiography*
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / methods*
  • Educational Measurement
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Feedback
  • Heart / anatomy & histology*
  • Heart / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Perception
  • Physiology / education*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Students, Medical*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Teaching / methods*