Harvard Health and Orca Health launch heart-focused iBook series

Anthony Komaroff, MD

Editor in Chief, Harvard Health Letter

The advent of electronic publishing, and of tablets and e-readers, has some obvious advantages. Publications can be downloaded instantly, wherever you are—no need to make a trip to the bookstore. A huge number of publications can be stored in a very small and light device—no more vacations lugging four to five heavy books with you. In fact, you can take your whole library with you, just like you can take your whole music collection. To me, that’s a miracle as great as penicillin.

Some e-readers, however, have additional advantages: they can display more than just print and still images. With such e-readers, a “book” today can include videos, images explained by a spoken voice, animations, interactive tools and quizzes.

That additional capability gives doctors new ways of explaining things in a “book”. I and colleagues from Harvard Health Publishing, along with Orca Health in Salt Lake City, have created a series of ten interactive iBooks focused on heart disease. Currently, the iBooks are available just for the Apple iPad via iBooks or on a computer via iTunes. Use the keyword “Orca Health” to find them.

Need to know what happens in the heart when a heart attack is underway, how doctors open up cholesterol-clogged arteries, or how to cope with the irregular heart rhythm known as atrial fibrillation? The answers are in these iBooks. They let users view the heart in ways and detail they’ve never seen before to learn about these common heart conditions and procedures:

Angina Cardiac Catheterization
Angioplasty Heart Attack
Atherosclerosis Heart Failure
Atrial Fibrillation Mitral Valve Prolapse
Bypass Surgery Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Each book contains stunning interactive 3D animations powered by Orca Health, videos that I had the honor of narrating, and content from Harvard Medical School. An example of one of the videos is below. It describes how a cholesterol-clogged artery is opened with a procedure called angioplasty and stent placement

I am proud of these new books, and believe they set a new standard for patient education, in the United States and around the world. Let me know what you think.

Related Information: Harvard Heart Letter


  1. maron linken

    Excellent visual and simple explanation about anorexia tips . I think this is a great tool for teaching.

  2. Potencial Suplementos

    Awesome. Sure I’ll buy it to show to my students.

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    It is not simple for them to have a restrict sodium food. Someone might experience from anorexia. Physicians should have cautious tips in these situations.

  4. Julie H

    Excellent visual and simple explanation. I think this is a great tool for teaching.

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