Kate Womersley

Outpourings of the heart

In a fascinating history, Sandeep Jauhar describes how distress can cause our beating pump fatally to change shape

The numbers invite awe: three billion beats in a lifetime; 100,000 miles of vessels. But on the hospital floor, wonder is often in short supply. Doctors forget how intimate their examinations and investigations can be. Stethoscope to chest. Order a blood test.

I remember on a morning ward round at medical school, our consultant wanted to check that the oximeter was working (a device which measures heart rate and blood oxygenation through the nail bed).

Already a subscriber? Log in

Keep reading with a free trial

Subscribe and get your first month of online and app access for free. After that it’s just £1 a week.

There’s no commitment, you can cancel any time.


Unlock more articles



Don't miss out

Join the conversation with other Spectator readers. Subscribe to leave a comment.

Already a subscriber? Log in