The pumping heart

1 Feb

“This one patient who had this device installed- he went shopping with his wife one day. He needed to go to the toilet, so his wife waited outside. He was inside for so long that his wife got worried and decided to go in. And there she found him lying dead on the floor. The tragic cause of his death was determined afterwards- the cable got stuck at the door”

All of us gasped with disbelieve at the story.

“This other patient- who finally decided that he had enough- pull out the cable and he bleed to death”

And my heart raced with the thought of that man lying dead in his own blood.


These are real life stories as told by my lecturer during our tutorial. The sad stories that begin when that hard working muscle-of the size of a fist-the heart…can no longer pump blood efficiently to meet the demand of the body.

And some of the patient, after failing all the medical therapy, will need to resort to using this device- LVAD (Left Ventricular Assist Device). Ever heard of it?

It’s a mechanical circulatory device that is used to partially or completely replace the function of a failing heart. It involves ‘puncturing’ the left ventricle and channeled that blood straight to the aorta. The aim is to rest the left ventricle that no longer able to pump blood efficiently. This patient will have a cable outside his body connecting the LVAD to the battery outside.

Owh, I’m getting a bit medical here 😛

But it’s important for us to understand this. How severe the condition is and how it leaves the patient functionally impaired. Ok, let’s take a heart of a 20 years old person who does not smoke and maintain a healthy lifestyle. His ejection fraction is about 80%. This means out of 1000ml of blood that goes into the left heart, 800ml of it is pumped out- which is good. In a case of a person with a heart failure, 1000ml goes in but only 400ml goes out. His organs will be hypoperfused and it will further cause pulmonary congestion and leg swelling.

Can you imagine not being able to climb 2 flights of stairs without feeling breathless, unable to clean up the house without effort, feeling tired all day and sometimes even feeling breathless at rest?

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been seeing all sorts of patients whose lungs and heart can no longer function properly. My eyes swelled up at hearing their stories and my heart aches at watching them struggling to catch a breath. It’s heartbreaking.

The heart and the lungs…that kept us living…that kept us running, laughing, eating…He gave it to us and He can take it back anytime He wants.

So today, reflect back at the stories and thank Allah for every single thing that he gave us.

And every morning after you wake up, put your right hand across your chest, take a deep breath in and say Alhamdulillah…for that pumping heart of yours..

And the pen is lifted~

And the pen is lifted~

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