The Visible Heart® project and free-access website 'Atlas of Human Cardiac Anatomy'

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37 Scopus citations


AIMS: Pre- and post-evaluations of implantable cardiac devices require innovative and critical testing in all phases of the design process. The Visible Heart® Project was successfully launched in 1997 and 3 years later the Atlas of Human Cardiac Anatomy website was online. The Visible Heart® methodologies and Atlas website can be used to better understand human cardiac anatomy, disease states and/or to improve cardiac device design throughout the development process.

METHODS AND RESULTS: To date, Visible® Heart methodologies have been used to reanimate 75 human hearts, all considered non-viable for transplantation. The Atlas is a unique free-access website featuring novel images of functional and fixed human cardiac anatomies from >400 human heart specimens. Furthermore, this website includes education tutorials on anatomy, physiology, congenital heart disease and various imaging modalities. For instance, the Device Tutorial provides examples of commonly deployed devices that were present at the time of in vitro reanimation or were subsequently delivered, including: leads, catheters, valves, annuloplasty rings, leadless pacemakers and stents. Another section of the website displays 3D models of vasculature, blood volumes, and/or tissue volumes reconstructed from computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance images (MRI) of various heart specimens. A new section allows the user to interact with various heart models.

CONCLUSION: Visible Heart® methodologies have enabled our laboratory to reanimate 75 human hearts and visualize functional cardiac anatomies and device/tissue interfaces. The website freely shares all images, video clips and CT/MRI DICOM files in honour of the generous gifts received from donors and their families.

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Published on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology. All rights reserved. © The Author 2016. For Permissions, please email: [email protected].


  • Anatomic and physiologic education
  • Cardiac functional anatomy
  • Device development
  • Visible Heart methodologies


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