The SARS-CoV-2 virus enters the human body through the upper respiratory tract-the nose, mouth, and throat, and sometimes stays there. But other times it stealthily moves down the throat into the trachea, the bronchi, and finally the lungs.
There the virus creates inflammation that impairs the lungs’ ability to do their job- take oxygen from the air we breath and send it to the heart which pumps it through the aorta to all the other organs of the body.
Although inflammation caused by the COVID virus can damage other body organs, the most common causes of death in its victims are respiratory failure and/or cardiovascular disorders such as heart attack, heart failure, or stroke.
Even apart from COVID, diseases of the heart and lung are the leading causes of death all over the world. This post reviews 3 books I have read and reviewed that explain the intricacies of these two related and vital systems. One review is new, the other two have been previously published.
(This post and the ones linked to contain affiliate links that may pay a small commission to this blog, while you pay nothing extra. Quite a deal. )
A Heart Surgeon’s Quest to Understand Our Most Mysterious Organ
By Dr. Reinhard Friedl, With Shirley Michaela Seul; Translated by Gert Reifarth
Originally published as Der Takt des Lebens. Warum das Herz unser wichtigstes Sinnesorgan ist
In his memoir, Dr. Reinhard Friedl introduces us to the heart, describing its unique role in the human body, one he considers the most important of any organ. He believes the heart is the “source of all life”.
Dr. Friedl describes the heart’s structure and basic function, in detailed but non-technical terms. He does not view the heart as a mere pump as it is often described, but as a turbine, an engine.
Then he whisks us into the operating room as he performs a middle of the night emergency surgery to save a man’s life by repairing his damaged aorta. Later, he travels to a home to resuscitate a 34-week premature baby who wasn’t breathing. He describes the challenge of performing a delicate heart surgery on a 24-week premature infant. In each case, he acted automatically, calling upon years of training, using his mind and hands with precise attention to details, focusing only on the patient’s open chest on the table.
But operating with his brain was not enough for Dr. Friedl. He realized as a heart surgeon he needed to know and use his own heart. He wanted to find out
“Can we sense thing consciously with the heart? May we act from the heart? Is there a connection between the voice of the heart and illnesses, between a fulfilling life and one full of suffering?”
He explored the answer through meditation and deep breathing. He dove into the connection between the heart and the brain, studying philosophy, neurology, genetics, and even quantum physics. He finally concludes
Dr. Friedl’s story wanders at times, as did his journey to self-discovery. One chapter title, Farewell to the Artificial Heart, characterizes the journey he started and continues; reading his memoir may prompt you to start your own journey.
This book is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for a complimentary galley copy in exchange for a review.
A researcher at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health examined the long term effects of COVID on the heart.
“Until now, people who suffered mild or asymptomatic COVID-19 were thought to have dodged the brunt of the virus’s brutal side effects.
But new evidence has revealed that anyone infected with COVID is at higher risk for heart issues—including clots, inflammation, and arrhythmias (irregular beats)—a risk that persists even in relatively healthy people long after the illness has passed.”
Read the article at this link-
exploring the HEART of health