Images from Medicine: Be Still My Beating Heart

wellcome images

One of my favorite bloggers is Dr. Wes, a cardiologist who specializes in the heart’s electrical wiring (AKA cardiac electrophysiologist).  He recently posted an absolutely gorgeous image of the muscle fiber orientation in the left ventricle of the heart, generated from a special brand of MRI called diffusion tensor imaging.  You can get a good look by clicking on the image at the right.

The original comes from Wellcome Images Biomedical Collection, and is aptly entitled “Heart Strings.”  The picture clearly demonstrates the “helical alignment of the muscle fibres in the left ventricle.”  The left side of the heart has the responsibility for pumping blood out to the body. The systemic circulation is a high pressure system so the muscle on that side of the heart is thicker, more muscular.  The right side of the heart, in contrast, pumps to the lower-pressure circulation in the lungs and isn’t as “ripped”, as it were.

“Heart Strings” was runner-up in a British Heart Foundation Reflections in Research Competition.  Other short-listed images were equally compelling, but perhaps not quite as macroscopically elegant and relevant.

Put your hand on the left side of your chest and feel those Heart Art fibers squeezing. 

Victoria Rentel MD (OSU SHS)

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