The study of heart disease -- cardiology -- is an immensely satisfying branch of medicine. The heart is just so tangible; we can see it, touch it, hear it, and when all else fails, we can always manage to put a tube inside and take X-ray pictures of it. Because we try to make sense of a three-dimensional organ by taking two dimensional snapshots, we need a variety of angles to get the complete image, and so often use 'an oblique view'. Day to day life in a cardiac unit is the same; often mundane, sometimes dramatic, but always amenable to being examined with a different slant. How do common cardiac drugs get their name? What sort of music do surgeons choose to listen to as they delve amongst our innards? Why can going to cardiac conferences be so damned irritating and just how close to reality are all those TV hospital dramas? What personalised number plates adorn doctors cars, which accents best suit which specialties and what should you call a disease in order to ensure that it is your name that is immortalised in the medical textbooks for years to come? This collection of musings touches on these, as well as many other aspects of cardiology.
They do not attempt to make sense of any of them; they aim only to broaden the mind a little by taking a sideways glance at medical life.
Michael S Norell MD FRCP is Consultant Interventional Cardiologist and PCI Programme Director at the Heart & Lung Centre in Wolverhampton.
I'll never forget 'what's his name'; The ad-man cometh; "Calm down dear, it's only a vagal reaction"; Teaching cardiology: can we keep a finger on the pulse?; Cath lab communication; "Today we have naming of parts..."; Meetings, meetings, meetings; Keeping up with the fluids; Put off by the Ritz; Some notes on catheter laboratory atmosphere; "no dilation without representation; That's entertainment!; "Never forget that you have a choice"; Do you know your number?; This sporting life; Inside the ivory tower; In the midst of life we are in debt; The angioplasty apprentice; It's not what you say but how you say it; Ten atmospheres and all that; Our missions: to boldly state...; The conference bag; "We are, where we are"; Signs; Now wash your hands; The cardiological detective; The ties that bind us; A cardiological time capsule; Testing times; Making a note; It's all about presentation; Things you always wanted to know about ... the stethoscope.