I [Heart] the Heart

Like many of you, I watched that online video of a human heart in a tray connected to a machine that let it beat away, prior to a transplant operation. I have always appreciated the heart for the amazing job it does pumping blood through the body yet, honestly, I never gave it more than a passing thought. It pumps therefore I am, so to speak. Now, I give it a lot of thought.

A couple of weeks ago, my doctor ordered me to undergo an emergency heart procedure to clear a clogged artery. One theory of how it got that way was too much shrimp and lobster. Whatever the cause, all the remarkable imaging devices that cut, dice and splice our insides could not see that a vessel at the back of the heart was blocked up to 95 percent.

Luck and science prevailed. Luck to catch it in time. Medical science for perfecting an operation and training skilled doctors and nurses to carry it out. But what struck me, as I was wheeled into the OR, holding the nurse’s hand as tightly as I could, was how much science and design were at play in driving cardiac medicine. I used to take those diagrams and models of the heart for granted, but they are brilliant ways to display the realities of this most important organ. Sure, today’s imaging is digital, from the CT Scan that detects anomalies to the angiogram that illuminates the blockages and shows the surgeon where the angioplasties (stents) will be placed. Still, those models and drawings are two- and three-dimensional maps that aid the patient (me) in navigating the scary unknown.

I have a grateful appreciation for the healers of the heart now more than ever—and to the designers and artists who make the objects below.











Steven Heller. Louise Fili. Chip Kidd. Jessica Walsh. Stefan Sagmeister. 56 of today’s most inspiring design creatives, as you’ve never seen them before. Get a copy today.
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3 thoughts on “I [Heart] the Heart

  1. Bobbi

    I had planned to have lunch with you at the Y Conference. Louise wrote to say that there had been an emergency and neither of you could attend, but that you were fine. Not wanting to pry, I expressed that you would be sorely missed. During my group lunch, I kept picturing your face and wondering if you were well. I had to read your words twice over for reality to sink in. I was wondering if you might want to share what triggered the surgery, as it may help others. I imagine that fatigue and pain were involved and prompted a hospital visit. You must cast shrimp and lobster to the wind. Promise us.

  2. jhup

    Like so many others, I read your posts every day and am sorry to hear of your medical emergency but happy about the outcome. The few surgeries I have had were by doctors proud of their craft. One drew the back of my eye in preparation for a retinal detachment operation, it was a very good drawing and therefore reassuring. I work at a university press and design a lot of medical and health books among other subjects. The illustrators and doctor/authors are often highly creative.