Evaluation of a Computer-Based Program for Teaching Cardiac Anatomy

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The authors determined to what extent a computer-based program could enhance or substitute for cadaver dissection in teaching cardiac anatomy to first-year medical students.


First-year medical students (n = 175) were randomized into four groups. Group 1 (control) received no instruction, group 2 participated in cardiac dissection, group 3 viewed the computer application, and group 4 performed cardiac dissection and then viewed the computer application. Each group was tested with 10 ultrafast computed tomographic static images and 8 cardiac cadaver specimens.


The computer program plus dissection was superior to either the computer program alone or dissection alone; however, the results varied according to the subtest used to assess the outcomes.


Cardiac computer instruction after dissection resulted in dramatically improved image testing performance. However, computer instruction should not replace dissection for teaching cardiac anatomy.

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