Visualizing the Cardiac Cycle: A Useful Tool to Promote Student Understanding
The cardiac cycle is an important concept presented in human anatomy and physiology courses. At Kingsborough Community College, all Allied Health majors taking Anatomy & Physiology must understand the cardiac cycle to grasp more advanced concepts. Contemporary textbooks illustrate the cardiac cycle’s concurrent events via linear models with overlapping line segments as physiological readouts. This presentation is appropriate for reference but, in the interactive classroom the promotion of understanding through clear, concise visual cues is essential. Muzio and Pilchman created a diagram to summarize events of the cardiac cycle. After discussions with one of the authors, I modified the diagram to aid visualization of the cycle and emphasize it as a repetitive, continuous process. A flow diagram presenting the portions of the cycle individually and progressively was also constructed. Three labeled phases are made from the diagram, based on grouped events occurring at different points. The simple, compartmentalized, cyclical diagram presented here promotes understanding of the cardiac cycle visually.
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