September 4, 2010

Sudden Death does not mean you are dead (and other things I've learned in our first week of cardiology)

This was our first week of cardiology and It. Is. Awesome.

the professors have done a great job of making everything 1) clinical, 2) logical, 3) not intimidating, and 4) actually pretty fun.

I remember the day we disected the heart last fall the wild power I felt holding another person's heart in my hands; seeing one of the few (only?) organs in our bodies that, when we are alive, is constantly moving be so still was terrifyingly beautiful.

a few things I have learned this week:
  • sudden death does not equal death. sudden death means that your heart has stopped working appropriately (also known as ventricular fibrillation or vfib) - but you can be shocked back to life from this, so our professors often say seemingly absurd things like "so how do we treat sudden death?". apparently in real life, this looks like the heart is full of worms - it just wiggles randomly.
  • how to read an EKG! okay, so maybe not entirely how to read one, but how to look at squiggly lines and think about what's that means for being inside the heart.
  • we used to believe (in the 1600s) that the source of all the blood in your body was the liver.
  • your body pumps 5L of blood through your entire body every 60seconds. this makes your heart stronger and better than any pump you have ever seen (think 2o fire engine pumps IN YOUR CHEST)
  • venous return is really important and depends a lot on gravity. putting your feet up after a long day of running around actually does help your heart!
  • I kinda dig cardiology.

Hearts will never be practical until they are made unbreakable
-the wizard of oz


  1. Our hearts belong to you! Love your blog!

  2. This observation was so interesting. In my non-medical world I can see a parallel to the use of meditation and yoga to get my brain cells working as one again and not giving in to the oh-so-many thoughts firing at the same time throughout the day.