HeartPedia: Interactive App Illustrates Congenital Heart Defects

Heartpedia: An Interactive 3D App Featuring Congenital Heart Defects

One of the best ways I’ve found to help people understand congenital heart disease is by visual illustration or drawings. In fact, my love for drawing is what led me to the field of pediatric cardiology.

As many of my clinical mentors have taught me, drawing a child’s heart defect is the most effective way to describe the condition to the patient and to the parents. Multiple illustrations are usually necessary to describe a specific heart defect and the associated recommended repair. At the time of diagnosis, it can be stressful for parents to process all the information given to them in an instant. I can only imagine how difficult it is for them to recall all the intricate details they had just heard.

For years, as I’ve watched families leave appointments with their drawings in hand, I have longed for a better tool to help them understand their child’s heart condition. This is how the idea for the Heartpedia application came to fruition.

After I started my fellowship at the Heart Institute, I began working on various projects with Dr. Michael Taylor, director of Non-Invasive Imaging. One day we were discussing our mutual interest in creating 3D heart models of congenital heart defects to help educate families and trainees.

In collaboration with the Critical Care Media Lab, led by Dr. Ken Tegtmeyer and animator Jeff Cimprich, we created a realistic-looking 3D heart model. The next step was to take the 3D heart model and mold it into various congenital heart defects. Working closely with them over several months, we were able to create models of more than 10 different congenital heart defects along with their most common repairs.

After extensive planning, animation and development, Heartpedia is now available for free download on the iPad and iPhone and Android on Google Play. And here’s a tutorial video which explains how to use it.

It features interactive, anatomically-accurate 3D images of congenital heart defects and their repairs. We developed it because we not only wanted a better tool for describing heart defects to our patients’ families in clinic, but we wanted something that our patients’ families could use to help explain their child’s defect to their loved ones and friends.

The app is a work in progress; we have started with the following heart defects and plan to add more in the future: tetralogy of Fallot, coarctation of the aorta, hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), transposition of the great arteries, ventricular septal defect, patent ductus arteriosus, atrioventricular septal defect, interrupted aortic arch, total anomalous pulmonary venous return, and truncus arteriosus.

Soon we will be adding additional defects including atrial septal defect, Ebstein’s anomaly, double outlet right ventricle, and tricuspid atresia. In addition, we will be adding various other types of surgical repairs including bidirectional Glenn anastomosis and Fontan conduit, which are typically used in staging of single ventricle surgeries.


We know that a diagnosis of congenital heart disease can be stressful and life-changing. It is our hope that this application will help families better visualize, understand and explain their loved one’s condition.

Please let us know what you think and if there are any other heart defects or features you would like to see in future versions.

Look for Heartpedia on Google Play and the Apple App store.

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Ryan Moore, MD

About the Author: Ryan Moore, MD

Ryan Moore, MD, is currently an advanced imaging pediatric cardiology fellow at Cincinnati Children’s Heart Institute. He has interest in developing educational resources for families and trainees, especially related to 3-dimensional animation and technology.

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  1. Jennifer kurten July 11, 23:42
    Wow! Of course I had to download that app as soon as I read this article!! That is sooo cool! My daughter was born with TGA, VSD, and pulmonary stenosis! I always tell people her pulm artery and aorta formed backwards! The pediatric cardiologist drew me a pic when I was still pregnant and I never truly understood what TGA meant! This app is really cool! My daughter is 3 and I let her move the heart around on the screen and she thought it was pretty neat! Great work!!!! I really appreciate this info and I will be sure to pass it along to my other heart moms!!!
  2. Stefan Rusche July 12, 08:27
    Thank you so much for this app. I wish, the doctors in clinic had had this app when they explained the TGA of my daughter to us. We are thinking about donating an iPad with the app to our clinic. Our daughter had a rather rare coronar anomaly in addition to the TGA -- do you plan to add coronar anomalies to the "line-up"? I had to consult a friend (who is an MD) and she explained the coronar anomaly (or tried to) with a large stack of anatomy books.
    • Ryan Moore, MD Author July 16, 08:36
      Thank you for your response! Coronary anomalies are common for many of these heart defects and we hope to expand our library to include several coronary variations in the near future. The first place this may show up is on the Heart Institute Encyclopedia which we are continuously updating with several heart defects and their most common surgical procedures http://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/patients/child/encyclopedia/default/
  3. Stefan Rusche July 12, 08:30
    One more thing: could you add a Flattr button to your page. I'd like to donate :-)
    • Rachel Camper
      Rachel Camper July 14, 08:47
      Many thanks for the recommendation! We will look into that option. We also have a donation page specifically for the Heart Institute, if you'd like to make a donation here: https://giving.cincinnatichildrens.org/SSLPage.aspx?pid=793
  4. Joe Denson July 12, 17:55
    The app is extremely helpful! Much thanks for taking the time to develop this. Our daughter has moderate aortic stenosis and they believe her aortic valve is bicuspid. Would love to see that added in your next version. Thanks again!
  5. cassandra July 13, 00:21
    Just wondering if you know how long until the android one comes out?
    • Ryan Moore, MD Author July 16, 08:37
      We are in discussions right now for expansion of the Heartpedia app to other platforms. Our webpage will post it as soon as it’s available. Stay tuned!
  6. Dee Cosgrove July 13, 02:40
    Hi, what a great idea. Would love to see one on ccTGA, WPW syndrome and "Double Switch". Looking forward to seeing the ebsteins one as well.
  7. Rebecca Hood July 13, 17:44
    This is an amazing idea! When our son was diagnosed at 4 weeks old (in 2011) with ToF, severe pulmonary stenosis and an abnormal coronary artery anatomy, we left the hospital with our drawing, we were overwhelmed, confused and told it was best not to google. Of course we googled! We had no idea what a congenital heart disease was! Maybe 'abnormal coronary artery anatomy' could be added to the defects, it caused some difficulty with our son's surgeries as they were not 'textbook'. Will definitely download when the Android version is available! Thank you, from Australian Heartmums :)
  8. Rachael Bartle July 13, 19:12
    Hi, what a fantastic app. Our son is hypoplastic right heart(HRHS) along with several other "add on's", TGA,tricuspid atresia & more, it would be great to have HRHS included in your app to be able to show our son when he is older exactly what he has endured & to allow other families in a similar situation to have access to this information. Keep up the awesome work :-) Rachael New Zealand
  9. Melissa Jouett July 17, 16:03
    Your talents never cease to amaze me Dr. Moore! Thank you so much for taking time to develop this tool for parents. We all appreciate it so much! (Gen says hi!)
  10. steve August 11, 21:09
    I am so proud of u
  11. Rachel Wilson August 14, 23:19
    I have Tricuspid Atresia. I would love to see that added at some point. It's a great app so far. It would be great to show my GP or other doctors that deal with me on non-heart issues.
  12. Raj Hemus December 11, 17:42
    Hi Has Truncus Arteriosis been added? Great App and wonderful idea. Thank you. Raj www.facebook.com/22qAwarenessDays @22qAwarenessDay
  13. Jodie Nema December 11, 21:02
    Hi, what a fantastic idea !! Just wondering if you could add to your list of 'To-do' - Complete Pulmonary Atresia with VSD and MAPCAS. I know it's a bit rare and very complex, but I find it so hard to explain to people and this App would be a huge help ! Thankyou !! Heartkid Mum in Australia
  14. Lisa December 12, 16:53
    I'm thrilled to hear that Truncus Arteriosus is in the works along with interrupted aortic arch! It has always been so hard to find good information about these defects since they are on the much rarer side! I will be on the look out!
  15. Carrie December 12, 19:13
    I would love for you to add Pulmonary Vein Stenosis and Cor Triathlete to the list.
  16. Marshall's Mommy December 14, 07:34
    This so awesome! I wish you much success. My son's defects are not available but this is such a wonderful tool for parents and patients to gain a better understanding of how these defects and how they are repaired.
  17. Lisa January 25, 14:22
    What a shame that I can't download this app in the Netherlands. I think it would be of great help for my medicine study.
  18. Leslie Rintz March 06, 23:22
    My daughter has transportation of the great vessels with the mustard patch done at 9 months old. She is 30 years old.
  19. Sally Pennington March 08, 00:37
    Will you please make an illustration of cctga? Congenitally corrected transposition of the great arteries. No surgical corrections. That is my defect. This is very interesting. Thank you.
  20. Allison Armstrong March 08, 13:14
    Can you add hypo plastic right heart syndrome to the app? Great idea and thank you.
  21. Cbjebe March 20, 02:11
    My son's surgery was April 2008. Almost eight years and TODAY was the day I finally understood. I shed a few tears but I must say, this is amazing. Understanding what the doctors tried to draw out and seeing it in 3-D is a feeling I can't put into words. Thank you. Thank you for this.
  22. CaitV March 29, 22:03
    I would love to see Double Outlet Right Ventricle and Ectopia Cordis added to the app.
  23. Cmwilson February 03, 20:00
    Please add cctga!!
  24. Howie October 27, 18:03
    Hi. My son has ccTGA, univentricular heart with, pulmonary atresia and MAPCA`s. He`s one year now. We are at home, but he has no surgical offer at the moment. Would love to see it in your app, though its very many variants of such a complex CHD.