3.5 out of 5 stars

If there is one thing that you need more than your brain, then it is your heart. Over the course of a normal life, the heart will beat around 115,00 times a day which equates to 42 million times a year. Over your lifetime it will pump a staggering 158 million litres of blood. For years was seen as the centre of our soul too, but that attitude changed with the rise of scientific understanding of the way it worked. But what goes around comes around and modern research has shown how the heart can react and change shape as it reacts to feeling and trauma. It is the organ that is the very centre and essence of us.

Sandeep Jauhar has a close affinity with this organ, not only is he a practising cardiologist, but he only needs to go back to his grandparent’s generation to find the roots of his own heart issues. That journey from them to him will take us to the pioneers and mavericks who have discovered so much about it. There is William Harvey who discovered that the blood flowed down the arteries and somehow passed through the flesh and was pumped back up the veins. Inge Edler who made the connection that ultrasound that was being used to find battleships could also be used on the heart to see it working and John Heysham Gibbon who spent thirty years of his life developing a heart and lung machine to oxygenate the blood, opening the doors to being able to perform surgery on the heart without the patient dying. This and many other innovations and groundbreaking advances have lead us to the point where we move ever closer to the artificial heart.

This is a good overview with enough depth in it too for the casual reader of how we have got to where we are now with our understanding and treatment of the heart. There is also Jauhar’s personal story of heart disease in his own family and how it impacts his health, but how these diseases have affected all sorts of people from all levels of society.

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