Heart Book Summary By Sandeep Jauhar

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Heart (2018) is an insightful examination into the mysterious organ that has captivated people for centuries.

It explores its biological and cultural history, in order to understand why it is so significant.

The book discusses how the heart has become a symbol of love, fidelity and devotion in many cultures.

It highlights the relevance of the heart to progress in medical science and technology.

And it explores the intricate relationship between physical health and psychological well-being.

With its thoughtful reflections on our current understanding of this vital organ, Heart (2018) will keep readers enthralled until the very last page.

Heart Book

Book Name: Heart (A History)

Author(s): Sandeep Jauhar

Rating: 4.5/5

Reading Time: 24 Minutes

Categories: Health & Nutrition

Author Bio

Sandeep Jauhar is a renowned cardiovascular specialist from the Long Island Jewish Medical Center.

Aside from his great work in the medical field, Sandeep also writes for the New York Times and has authored two books: Doctored and Intern.

He is a talented writer and physician who resides in Long Island with his family.

No doubt, he has an incredible wealth of knowledge on heart health which he details in his latest book, Heart.

Uncovering The Fascinating History Of The Human Heart

Human Heart

Get to know the amazing power of the heart with The Heart Book.

This fascinating look into our most important organ gives readers a valuable insight into its inner workings.

Here, you can learn about everything from the cardiocentric view of the body held by ancient Greeks, to why fatty plaque in arteries just vanishes with a puff!

The book takes you on an incredible journey as it delves into curious tales of heart related science and historical events – like what a Japanese octopus pot has to do with heart disease, or how one eccentric young surgeon decided self-surgery was the way to advance science.

With graphic descriptions of surgeries and experiments using animals, The Heart Book will give readers unparalleled insight into this miraculous organ that sustains life.

The Lasting Impact Of The Heart As A Metaphor For Love And Courage

The heart has been used to symbolize human emotions since the Middle Ages.

During the Renaissance period, it became known as a symbol of loyalty and bravery, so much so that the Latin word for heart, “cor”, was used as the origin of the term “courage”.

This metaphor even influenced Jauhar’s grandmother who regularly encouraged her family to take heart when things seemed difficult.

The heart is, of course, most famously associated with love.

Since medieval times this shape has been linked to courtship and sexual behavior and is now seen in paintings and countless other love emblems.

There is even an official name – cardioid – for this shape which can be found naturally occurring in certain leaves, flowers and seeds.

A good example here is silphium plant whose heart-shaped seeds were commonly used as natural contraceptives throughout the Middle Ages.

Throughout history, the heart has been a powerful metaphor, drawing on its ability to represent courage and strength on one hand or love and romance on the other.

But it all started during the Middle Ages and continues to influence us today.

The Medical Phenomenon Of Broken Hearts: How Emotional Stress Can Kill Us

When it comes to the heart, emotions can’t be underestimated.

The physical heart is actually affected by stress and anxiety; the body’s response to these emotions can constrict blood vessels, leading to increased heart rate and blood pressure – which, over time, causes damage to the heart.

In fact, statistically, even broken hearts have shown an impact on health – Karl Pearson observed that if one spouse dies, it is not unusual for the other one to die themselves within a year due to an cardiac illness.

It also goes beyond just broken hearts; loveless marriages have been linked to Heart Disease as well.

It’s incredible because this phenomenon of emotional distress leading to heart problems even has a name – Takotsubo cardiomyopathy.

Basically when intense emotional stress such as breakups or death of loved ones occur, the patients often displayed symptoms associated with impending cardiac arrest such as chest pain and breathing difficulties.

For some patients though not all), these cases can result in “emotional heart damage”.

Werner Forssmann Paved The Way For Modern Cardiac Surgery Through Self-Experimentation


When Werner Forssmann walked into the operating theater in 1929 with a catheter tube, he had no idea that it would lead to innovations which would win him and two of his colleagues a Nobel Prize.

It all started when Forssmann convinced a nurse to get hold of an extra-long catheter tube.

In order to perform his daring self-experiment, he tied her up so that she could not intervene or run off for help.

He then cut open the skin on the inside of his left elbow and pushed the catheter through his antecubital vein toward his heart.

Despite some moments of tension, Forssmann successfully pushed the catheter through his heart’s right atrium.

He went on to repeat this experiment several times to great amusement from medical professionals.

However, in the late 1930s two American cardiologists were inspired by Forssmann’s work; André Cournand and Dickinson Richards developed new techniques using tiny catheters inserted into patients’ veins or arteries.

This laid the foundation for modern day coronary angiography – detailed imaging techniques used today to investigate the insides of hearts and blood vessels.

As a result of their work, all three scientists involved – Cournand, Richards and Forssmann – were awarded with a Nobel Prize in medicine in 1956, making Forssmann’s initial experiment one worth celebrating!

How C. Walton Lillehei Found A Way To Beat The Clock In Heart Surgery

Before cross-circulation surgical procedures were invented, open heart surgery was thought impossible.

The reason why is that to perform such an operation, the heart had to be stopped for at least ten minutes, but the body could only survive for three to five minutes without oxygen.

This made the procedure just too risky to even attempt.

It wasn’t until C.

Walton Lillehei had a brain wave in the 1950s that open heart surgery became viable.

He drew inspiration from unborn babies whose blood passes into their mother’s circulatory system, where it is cleaned and oxygenated.

He experimented on dogs, connecting one dog’s circulatory system with that of another via a beer hose and milk pump in order to simulate human cross-circulation systems.

Both dogs survived without any complications and this paved the way for similar procedures to be carried out on humans.

Lillehei’S Revolutionary Cross-Circulation Surgery Changes The Fate Of Congenital Heart Disease Patients

Until the 1950s, congenital heart disease remained a major health problem in America.

50,000 babies each year were diagnosed with the condition, which resulted in a coin-sized aperture appearing in the wall separating the upper or lower chambers of the heart.

This caused leaking, reducing oxygen levels and leading to fainting spells and even death.

At this time, there was no medical solution as fixing these apertures required stopping the patient’s heart for more than ten minutes, an impossibility at that point.

That same year, however, Dr Lillehei devised his groundbreaking cross-circulation surgery method, giving hope that it could potentially provide a viable treatment option for those suffering from congenital heart disease.

After two successful surgeries on 13-month old Gregory Glidden and 4-year old Pamela Schmidt respectively, Dr Lillehei went on to perform this experimental procedure 44 more times – 32 of his patients survived their operations.

This marked one of the most significant breakthroughs in cardiovascular care in history – proof that congenital heart disease is treatable and its patients can lead healthy lives with the correct surgical techniques.

How Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Tragic Death Led To The Framingham Heart Study

Franklin D. Roosevelt's

The 1950s marked a major moment in the understanding of heart disease — particularly its causes — when scientists and medical practitioners began to recognize lifestyle factors as contributing to the risk of developing it.

The Framingham Heart Study, conducted on 5,000 citizens between the ages of 30 and 60 in a small town not far from Boston over a 20-year period, was instrumental in this shift in thinking.

It observed lifestyles in detail, looking for correlations between them and health issues related to the heart.

Prior to conducting this study, experts had thought anxiety and stress, hard work and low economic status may have played a role; they also identified Benzedrine as a possible contributor—an amphetamine commonly prescribed at the time for managing obesity, low blood pressure and pain.

The Framingham Study demonstrated that high blood pressure, hypertension (an arterial illness which increases blood pressure), cholesterol levels and other lifestyle factors were indeed involved in not only causing but also treating heart disease.

This revolutionary research also showed smoking to be linked with developing form such serious problems; as such scientific evidence increased, governments began implementing prohibiting advertisements targeting cigarettes as well as warning labels on their packaging.

Ultimately these new insights into heart disease encouraged an independent approach aimed at prevention — emphasizing healthy eating habits and regular physical activity alongside abstinence from alcohol an nicotine use.

Such preventative measures have since then been proven efficacious by Swedish studies which found those habits are capable of averting four out of every five cardiac arrests.

The Framingham Study: A Significance Of Social Reform In Combating Heart Disease

It’s well known that diet and exercise have a big effect on heart disease.

But there is evidence that suggest that psychosocial factors can also contribute to the increased risk of heart disease.

For example, studies conducted in India showed that there was four times higher rates of heart disorder in the population than what was observed in the Framingham study.

This suggested that lifestyle wasn’t the only contributing factor at play.

Furthermore, an interesting study conducted by Sir Michael Marmot at UC Berkeley looked at Japanese immigrants living in San Francisco and how their integration with Westerners affected their heart health.

He found that those who became more Western were more vulnerable to heart disease than those still tied to their culture and communities.

This proposed idea of migration and adapting to a new culture causing stress on the heart was very convincing.

In 2004, Peter Sterling from University of Pennsylvania conducted research on black people living in poor urban communities which indicated that they were more vulnerable to heart disease compared to other social groups due to their high levels of stress and anxiety stemming from poverty-stricken circumstances.

These findings demonstrate the importance of addressing psychosocial causes when it comes to preventing or treating heart conditions.

It seems as though we need collective lifestyle changes and social reform if we are going to combat widening issues with this particular illness.

Pioneers Of Medical Science Unravelled The Mystery Of The Heart, Saving Lives In The Process

Medical Science

In the 1960s, a major health problem in America was fatty plaque clogging up people’s arteries – however, the medical community was at a loss when it came to finding solutions.

It gradually became clear that high cholesterol levels were linked to heart disease after studies, as cholesterol particles were being deposited and settling in the blood vessels.

These particles then caused oxidation on nearby cells called free radicals, which then produced lesion on these cells.

To try to solve this issue, white blood cells would rush to the site and try to eat up these cholesterol particles – but ultimately, due to not being able to digest them, produce a paste made of cholesterol on the walls of artery instead.

By 1970s though, a breakthrough had been made thanks to Dr.

Andreas Gruentzig who developed balloon coronary angioplasty.

The process involved fitting an inflatable balloon onto a catheter and threading it into an artery where the blockage was taking place; with 2-3 inflation pumps of air she was shooting out, it worked by stretching out resting areas and getting rid of any fatty plaque settled near there as well.

The procedure had been tested on Adolph Bachman later in 1977 and soon enough became popular globally; it is credited with saving many lives since!

While heart disease had once presented as an unknown figure not long before, humanity has come together through research partnered with relying heavily on our minds; this has resulted in us bringing into fruition something that had once been thought impossible decades back!

Wrap Up

The final summary of Heart Book is that the heart is a complex organ that can be affected by our lifestyle, stress, anxiety and even emotions.

Thankfully, there have been scientific advances in heart care that have helped to prolong the lifespan and improve health issues in people who suffer from conditions related to the heart.

From cross-circulation surgeries in the early twentieth century, to more modern practices such as coronary angioplasty, our knowledge and understanding of how to care for this precious part of us has grown a great deal.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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