The most important thing I found with cardiology was that you really need to go back to basics and get the anatomy into your head before you learn anything else. Once you have drummed into your brain which valve is which and which vessel comes off where, you can then understand how various heart problems develop and why they cause the symptoms/signs they do.

Furthermore, although probably just peculiar to my medical school/teaching hospital, I found that consultants would just presume you would know how to recognise a third heart sound or a murmur. I therefore particularly went over auscultation in my notes and videos. These things tend to crop up in OSCEs or just randomly on the ward anyway, so it’s good to be able to recognise them even if you can’t totally identify which valve is regurgitant/stenosed.

My one tip for recognising heart murmurs (taught to me by an F2 in third year and which has held me in good stead ever since), is that if the murmur is in the aortic region, it is almost certainly stenosis, and if it is in the mitral region it is almost certainly regurgitation (they are also likely to be in AF if the latter is present). So if you have a patient in an OSCE with a murmur in one of these two areas and you’re not sure what type of murmur it is, hazard a guess and suggest the most likely!

The videos I made are here:

Cardiology I: the basic anatomy of the heart and disorders of the blood supply

Cardiology II: disorders of the pericardium, myocardium and endocardium

Cardiology III: heart failure

Cardiology IV: heart valves

Cardiology V: disorders of the heart beat

Cardiology VI: misc other cardiology (including hypertension)


I used The Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine to study cardiology, and the notes I made are here:

Cardiology 1

Cardiology 2

Cardiology 3

Cardiology 4

Cardiology 5

Cardiology 6

Cardiology 7


ECGs were the bane of my life in medical school; I absolutely hated them and was terrified that they would come up in an OSCE (I was lucky and they never actually did). I found The ECG Made Easy by John R. Hampton quite helpful although I only discovered it in fifth year. Prior to this, I made some additional notes on ECGs and a sort of ‘template’ for how to approach them which you can find here:

Cardiology 8- ECGs



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