There’s “stuff”, and then there is interesting “stuff”!

UPDATE: Katie has been re-intubated. One the one hand this is worrisome – you never want to go backwards if you can help it – but on the other hand, I always had problems on the third day after surgery. So I’m taking a “Wait and see” attitude. My best wishes to Katie and her parents!

This post is completely and totally disorganized; you could easily title it:

“Things that don’t fit anywhere else”

“Heart trivia”

“Not quite useless information”

Seriously, it is some of those “Gee whiz!” things you happen to learn when you are trying to learn as much as you can about how your heart works. For example:

Three People Might Agree

You got that? Really, it’s a simple way to remember the correct order of the valves in a normal heart. Blood flows first through the Tricuspid valve, then through the Pulmonary Valve to the lungs. After it returns to the heart, it flows through the Mitral valve, and then exits the heart through the Aortic valve. TPMA — Three People Might Agree!

Heart valves are also designed to prevent back flow. If they are healthy and functioning normally, blood can only flow in one direction. A heart murmur is the sound of blood flowing backwards, and is a sure sign of a damaged or defective valve.

The heart itself doesn’t make any noise as it works. The beating sound you hear is actually the valves opening and closing. There are two sounds (“lub dub”) because the Atriums and the Ventricles contract in sequence, not at the same time. (CLICK HERE for a good explanation of the heart sounds, and what to listen for)

An anatomically correct drawing of the heart is backwards – the left Ventricle is on the right side, and the Right Ventricle is on the left side. It’s intentional – it’s drawn as if you are the surgeon, and the owner of the heart is lying on a table in front of you. When shown a “mirrored image” of the heart – left on the left, right on the right – many people couldn’t identify it. That number included a fair percentage of doctors, too. Scary!

A surgeon was once in the hospital room with a young patient, explaining exactly what was going to happen during the surgery scheduled for the next day. To make it easier to understand, he had brought along a drawing of the heart. “I read that hearts are drawn backwards,” the child reminded the doctor. “The left side of the heart is on the right side of the drawing. Don’t forget!”

Total silence. The surgeon was stunned, his assistants speechless at the child trying to tell the experienced doctor about the layout of the heart. Finally someone in the back giggled, and that did it. The whole room roared with laughter.

“Everyone write that down,” the surgeon said to his team. “Hearts are drawn backwards, that’s important to know!”

I heard that story from a doctor while at the Adult Congenital Heart Association (ACHA) Conference this year, I was not the child involved!


I knew that if I told that tale, you guys would think I was the child! Trust me, I wasn’t as outgoing at that age!


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One Response to “There’s “stuff”, and then there is interesting “stuff”!”

  1. carolyn compton Says:

    Well, yeah, you don’t want to muck that up. Its not like its just amputating the wrong leg!

    I’m an art teacher and when I teach printing, most students will write text and then realise too late that they have written it the wrong way!

    mirror image.

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