Cheating on the Liver with the Heart (residency call series)

liverThere is something beautiful about a healthy liver. That deep dark reddish brown organ perched in the right upper quadrant of the abdomen, with all its glory. The only organ which can regenerate. It never ceases to amaze me that you can take a part of a liver and give it someone else and in a few weeks it will have grown back to its normal size. The liver is not to be messed with. It can bleed like crazy if you are in the wrong plane doing a gallbladder surgery, and it is in proximity with a lot of structures you do not want to end up in like the inferior vena cava (IVC), or common bile duct, or portal vein. All structures that when you have a patient where everything is stuck together and you inadvertently get into it, even for a pastor’s kid like me a curse word escapes my lips. It is in my opinion the most fascinating organ!

heartBut today I was nowhere near the liver, I was operating in the chest. For a second I felt like I was cheating on the liver because I was mesmerized by the beating heart, so gracefully and fiercely. One beat after another. This heart of a 20 something year old woman has done this dance more than 770 million times. Do you ever stop to marvel at how magnificent your body is? How complex everything is and yet so simple. Our patient had a humongous mediastinum tumor inseparable from the heart and encasing the big vessels. We dissected the tumor out, the anatomy was just beautiful. 5 hours later, we were rolling into the cardiovascular recovery unit. I loved every minute of the case. It’s not my first time seeing or touching the heart, I have seen the heart many times; but every time I do a cardiac case, I am left in awe of how magnificent God is! Until next time… -ciao-



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