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Ashley EA, Niebauer J. Cardiology Explained. London: Remedica; 2004.

Cover of Cardiology Explained

Cardiology Explained.

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We may not be the most impartial commentators, but it seems to us that the heart is the most interesting organ in the body. It beats in a tightly regulated, finely coordinated, gracefully rhythmic fashion to distribute blood and oxygen to all the other organs. It does this more than 2 billion times in the lifetime of an average human. It can accelerate to power an Olympic athlete for 26 miles in a little over 2 hours, and it can weaken to hold your 86-year-old patient hostage in her favorite chair.

Yet the heart, so central to the metaphors of our language, has not revealed its secrets readily. This may be because until relatively recently, it was believed the heart was the only organ that could not be cut (heart surgery was unthinkable from the time of Aristotle until the late 1800s). But this reflects the heart's eternal mystique. Since the invention of the stethoscope we have used technology to reveal the innermost workings of the heart. In recent times, technological advance has been ever more rapid. Indeed, the rapidity of this technological advance is what led us to writing this book. Meanwhile, the bulk of cardiovascular disease remains the realm of the generalists. From whose perspective, knowing when to make use of specialists and knowing how to view their input in the context of the whole patient is increasingly important, yet increasingly difficult. So this is the aim of our book: to sit beside you when you wonder, "Should I refer this patient to a cardiologist"; to look over your shoulder when you receive the cardiology clinic letter; to whisper in your ear the normal left ventricular internal diameter. In short, if our book can be your partner in working with your cardiologist then it has been successful. If it can answer questions the answers to which you once knew, it has been valuable. If it can explain the answers to questions you didn't know you wanted to ask, then it has been worth our while and worth your money. We care deeply that this book fulfils your needs and welcome any feedback on its content, explanatory style, or level of detail.

Many people have made this book possible. Too many to mention in these pages. We would like to thank our wives Fiona and Dörte who have been patient and understanding during the long nights and early mornings. Many cardiologists and generalists gave advice and read chapters and we would like to thank them all here. Finally, we'd like to thank Cath Harris, Andrew Ward, and all the team at Remedica who coaxed and cajoled us, encouraged and enlivened our text, and heroically rescued our diagrams from obscurity.

Copyright © 2004, Remedica.
Bookshelf ID: NBK2221


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