Osmosis flashcard writing style guide

Writing flashcards is a powerful way to engage and absorb new material. Quizzing yourself with flashcards is a great way to retain that material in your long-term memory. And if you publish your flashcards within a class group, you will have provided a great resource for your classmates, for which they will be eternally grateful. 

Here are some step-by-step instructions:

Step 1. 


Identify the “high yield” facts that might be tested for a given lecture. Be sure to prioritize facts that are difficult to learn or easily forgotten, and make sure that you include all of the relevant “buzzwords” in your set of flashcards.

Step 2.

 

Underline words and phrases that can be hidden and figured out based on the context provided. Sometimes you can underline multiple words within the same fact, but be careful because that is not always the case.

Example 1: Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is associated with a systolic murmur and an S4 heart sound on auscultation. 

This would create two possible flashcards for the learner:

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is associated with a ___________ and an S4 heart sound on auscultation.

or

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is associated with a systolic murmur and ___________ on auscultation.

In this example, the term “hypertrophic cardiomyopathy” cannot be hidden because there would be an alternative correct answer for this flashcard (e.g. aortic stenosis), which could lead to confusion.  

Example 2: Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and restrictive cardiomyopathy both cause dysfunction of the diastolic phase of the cardiac cycle. This would create three possible flashcards for the learner:

___________ and restrictive cardiomyopathy both cause dysfunction of the diastolic phase of the cardiac cycle.

or 

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and ___________ both cause dysfunction of the diastolic phase of the cardiac cycle.

or 

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and restrictive cardiomyopathy both cause dysfunction of the ___________ phase of the cardiac cycle.

In this example, we have underlined multiple parts of this flashcard because each hidden part can be figured out with the remaining context. Note that the phrase “of the cardiac cycle” is added at the end, so that the learner knows the general category for the hidden phrase for flashcard 3. 

Step 3. Double check your flashcards to make sure that it includes all of the basic science and clinical facts that are “high yield” for your class exams. If you have questions about what you’ve covered, ask your professor and/or your classmates. 

Topic: Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy 

Basic science facts

  • Familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is caused by mutations in the β-myosin heavy chains.
  • On histopathology, cardiac tissue from patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is notable for having tangled, hypertrophied myocardial fibers.
  • On gross pathology, a pattern of concentric hypertrophy with sarcomeres added in parallel is seen in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy causes a hypertrophied interventricular septum which leads to outflow tract obstruction.
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and restrictive cardiomyopathy causes dysfunction of the diastolic phase of the cardiac cycle.
  • 50% of all cases of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy are due to an autosomal dominant mutation.

Clinical facts

  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is associated with a systolic murmur and an S4 heart sound on auscultation.
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy can cause a bifid pulse which is a double tap upon palpation of the apical impulse.
  • The handgrip maneuver increases systemic vascular resistance.
  • The handgrip maneuver decreases the intensity of aortic stenosis and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy murmurs.
  • The Valsalva maneuver and standing up both decrease systemic vascular resistance.
  • The Valsalva maneuver and standing up both increase the intensity of aortic stenosis and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy murmurs.
  • Verapamil and Diltiazem are non-dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers that can be used to treat hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
  • Friedreich Ataxia is associated with causing cardiac complications such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and atrial fibrillation.
  • Digoxin is contraindicated in patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy because it can worsen the outflow tract obstruction. 
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy can cause ventricular arrhythmia which can lead to sudden cardiac death in young athletes. 

Topic: Dilated cardiomyopathy facts

Basic science facts

  • Cardiac contractility decreases in dilated cardiomyopathy.
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy causes dilation of all 4 heart chambers.
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy causes dysfunction of the systolic phase of the cardiac cycle.
  • On gross pathology, a pattern of eccentric hypertrophy with sarcomeres added in series is seen in dilated cardiomyopathy.

Clinical facts

  • Dilated cardiomyopathy is associated with an S3 heart sound on auscultation.
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy is associated with a balloon appearance of the heart on chest x-ray.
  • Ultimately, dilated cardiomyopathy can require a patient to undergo heart transplantation.
  • Doxorubicin and Daunorubicin can cause cardiac toxicity such as dilated cardiomyopathy.
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy is the most common cause of cardiomyopathy.
  • Chagas Disease is a visceral protozoal infection that can cause dilated cardiomyopathy, megacolon, and megaesophagus.
  • Wet Beriberi is caused by Vitamin B1 (thiamine) deficiency and can lead to high-output cardiac failure due to dilated cardiomyopathy.
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy is the most common cause of death in patients with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
  • Hemochromatosis can lead to restrictive cardiomyopathy or dilated cardiomyopathy.
  • Coxsackie virus can cause myocarditis which can lead to dilated cardiomyopathy.

Topic: Restrictive cardiomyopathy facts

Pathophysiology

  • Loffler Syndrome causes endomyocardial fibrosis with an eosinophilic infiltrate which can lead to restrictive cardiomyopathy.
  • Familial amyloid cardiomyopathy, which is due cardiac deposition of mutated serum transthyretin, can lead to restrictive cardiomyopathy.
  • Systemic amyloidosis and sarcoidosis can cause cardiac problems such as arrhythmias and restrictive cardiomyopathy.
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and restrictive cardiomyopathy causes dysfunction of the diastolic phase of the cardiac cycle.
  • Hemochromatosis can lead to restrictive cardiomyopathy or dilated cardiomyopathy.
  • Endocardial fibroelastosis causes a band of thick fibroelastic tissue to form in the endocardium of young children which can lead to restrictive cardiomyopathy.
  • Radiation therapy can result in myocardial fibrosis, which can lead to a restrictive cardiomyopathy. 

Other tips and tricks related to creating flashcards and notes:

To insert images into flashcards (which is something we recommend if you don’t add cloze blanks):

To paste text into flashcards, question, or notes Without formatting:

  • In Mac OS X: from here:
  • You can use Shift + Option + Command + V to paste without formatting (or with whatever format the pasted text is placed into). …
  • Using TextEdit, the Mac equivalent to Notepad, you can copy and paste text as in the first method outlined above.
  • In PC/Window, using MS applications: from here.
  • You have a few ways of clearing text formatting. First, once you paste, a small pop-up will appear and give you three options:
  • Keep Source Formatting will preserve the text as you copied it. (Shortcut: Press CTRL + K, to select this after pasting).
  • Merge Formatting will force the text you’re pasting to match the text around it. (Shortcut: Press CTRL + M, to choose this after pasting).
  • Keep Text Only will only take the text and give it no other formatting. (Shortcut: Press CTRL+ T, to do this quickly after pasting).
Did this answer your question?