A tour through the heart and chest, with side trips into a wide range of diseases and diagnostic and therapeutic tools, is now as close as a computer keyboard for medical students and physicians. Introduction to Cardiothoracic Imaging, a new Web site developed at the School of Medicine, has drawn visitors from along Cedar Street and around the world since its debut in December.

Visitors to the site can explore the material, which is organized under five topics: anatomy, techniques, findings, cases and references. Under anatomy, viewers can see drawings of the heart and chest, then click to an X-ray image. A click on the left pulmonary vein brings a brief explanation to the screen.

The text, charts, X-rays and drawings are designed for a variety of uses, said John Paton, director of academic computing and media services. Lecturers can pull individual slides and transfer them to a PowerPoint presentation. Teachers can download images for inclusion in quizzes and students can pull out the pages they need for study. “It is an effort to get all the material in one place and allow people to get whatever they feel would be helpful,” Paton said.

The site is a Web version of a CD-ROM produced in 1994 by C. Carl Jaffe, M.D., professor of medicine, and Patrick J. Lynch, M.S., design director at the Center for Advanced Instructional Media. The CD-ROM used artwork, diagnostic images and text entirely generated at the School of Medicine. Rather than continually update the CD-ROM, they decided to convert it to a Web format. After four months of work on the conversion, the site, at http://www.yale.edu/imaging/, was launched in December.

Visitors made about 10,000 page requests from the site that month. A fifth of the visitors were from education sites in the United States. By May, monthly page requests had increased to 17,000 pages, making it one of the most visited sites at the medical school.