BACKGROUND: Computer supported, interactive e-learning systems are widely used in the teaching of physiology. However, the currently available complimentary software tools in the field of the physiology of cardiovascular mechanics have not yet been adapted to the latest systems software. Therefore, a simple-to-use replacement for undergraduate and graduate students' education was needed, including an up-to-date graphical software that is validated and field-tested. METHODS: Software compatible to Windows, based on modified versions of existing mathematical algorithms, has been newly developed. Testing was performed during a full term of physiological lecturing to medical and biology students. RESULTS: The newly developed CLabUZH software models a reduced human cardiovascular loop containing all basic compartments: an isolated heart including an artificial electrical stimulator, main vessels and the peripheral resistive components. Students can alter several physiological parameters interactively. The resulting output variables are printed in x-y diagrams and in addition shown in an animated, graphical model. CLabUZH offers insight into the relations of volume, pressure and time dependency in the circulation and their correlation to the electrocardiogram (ECG). Established mechanisms such as the Frank-Starling Law or the Windkessel Effect are considered in this model. The CLabUZH software is self-contained with no extra installation required and runs on most of today's personal computer systems. CONCLUSIONS: CLabUZH is a user-friendly interactive computer programme that has proved to be useful in teaching the basic physiological principles of heart mechanics.