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The Typical Hole In The Heart

This is as found in ASDs and VSD as already mentioned in my introduction. The former connotes a hole dug in the wall separating the upper rooms of the twin duplex. The latter means a hole in the wall between the ground-floor rooms.

And what digs those holes? Herbs! Herbs and all those medicines "you" carelessly pop into "your" mouth during pregnancy! Plus the liquid ones "you" drink!

Remedy is by open heart surgery to patch those holes.

Such remedy is expensive...and totally most non-heritable errors of formation of bodily parts are avoiding being FIXATED on herbs in pregnancy....especially during the first trimester....the first three months...when organogenesis takes place!

Better than to bring such disaster onto "your" innocent baby...and then go on TV for medical alms!

This procedure is performed to correct the congenital heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot, one of many cyanotic heart diseases.

Cyanosis as you are already aware, implies a bluish coloration of the tissues observable on the skin as those tissues are deprived of oxygen. It may be peripheral or central....but is central this instance.

Funny to admit that I did not get the full import of the Blalock-Taussig procedure until I watched a movie recently which highlighted how the contributions of a Negroid American surgical technician to the evolvement and perfection of the procedure was glossed over....until the very end when he was belatedly awarded a honorary PhD by the university authorities!

The procedure involves creating an intentional left-to-right shunt...not within the cavity of the heart via an ASD or a VSD....but outside the confines of the heart with similar import, results and consequences!

It entails a surgical anastomosis between the subclavian artery...a higher pressure artery conveying oxygenated one of the pulmonary arteries...usually the right side. The pressure in the latter is relatively lower and it conveys deoxygenated (spent) blood.

The import of this procedure is that as oxygenated blood is allowed to mix with deoxygenated blood, the patient is offered a life-line. A medical miracle exemplified by a brisk change of skin coloration from blue to pink!

As I strove to explain the subject at hand to my audience, I often wondered if the heart valves do not bear closer resemblance to parachutes in flight than the cups of female bras. For the billowing of a parachute in full flight so resembles these valves! So do the taut ropes of the parachute (as they connect the billowing cloth and its human passenger) so resemble the suspensory ligaments (chordae tindinae).

But then, you wouldn't use two parachutes at once, would you?

I suppose a compromise position would be to liken the heart valves to parachutes in structure....and liken them to bra cups in function. Perhaps....

In the foregoing simplified, descriptive, informative and educative article, I had done among other things, the following. I drew:

1. An allusion between the human heart and a double duplex....each duplex containing only two room per floor....and four rooms in all.

2. An allusion between the heart chambers and the rooms of this imaginary duplex.

3. An allusion between the heart valves and the cups of the female bra (also between the suspensory ligaments of those atrio-ventricular valves and the straps or strings of the bra).

4. An allusion between heart valves and parachutes in flight. Also an allusion between the suspensory ligaments of those valves and the taut ropes of a parachute in flight.

5. An allusion between the major heart vessels and viaducts into the rooms of the duplex.

6. An allusion between the inter-atrial wall and the wall separating the upper rooms.

7. An allusion between the inter-ventricular wall and the wall separating the rooms on the lower floor.

8. An allusion between the oxygen content of blood as it passes through heart chambers and the socioeconomic status of the occupants of this double duplex.

9. An allusion between the movement of, and not static nature of blood within the heart chambers and nomadic nature of inhabitants of the duplex.

To my humble knowledge, this is the first time such allusions or comparisons have been used in descriptive medical literature.

Even though this is by no means a medical journal or forum, I quite naturally expect users and quoters of this descriptive model to accord me the usual acknowledgments due fellows who blaze such trails.

Dr Tosin Akindele is a medical practitioner and public affairs analyst.

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Tosin Akindele and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

Articles by Tosin Akindele