Re-engineering the heart

24Feb12

Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) is a heart defect in which the left side of the heart is severely underdeveloped to perform its function — to pump blood to the body. This rare and complex condition, diagnosed among newborns, is discovered at birth.

A normal heart has four chambers, two on the right and two on the left. The right side moves blood to the lungs where blood pick up oxygen and is enriched as it circulates to the left side. The left side then pumps blood into the aorta, the human body’s largest blood vessel, which then circulates the oxygenated blood to the rest of the body.

In the case of a child with HLHS, most of the structures on the left side of the heart — the left ventricle, mitral valve, aorta and aortic valve — are too small and underdeveloped.

For a detailed look at this graphic, click here for a PDF.

The left ventricle, the most critical of them all, is usually strong and muscular in a normal heart so it can pump blood to the body. In a child with HLHS, the left ventricle is too small and underpowered to pump enough blood to meet the body’s requirements.

As a result, the right side of the heart is overburdened with the critical task of pumping blood to both the lungs and the body.

In early 2005, a team of specialists at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, in Milwaukee, performed the Norwood Procedure on a child afflicted with HLHS — rebuilding the aorta and rerouting the blood flow to reduce the workload on the right side of the heart. The Journal Sentinel followed the developing story and I was tasked to conceptualize and produce a graphic that would attempt to explain visually the complex procedure.

Graphic by Alfred Elicierto. Published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on April 24, 2005.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Also in this blog:
Why cities are spreading to the countryside
Remembering Katrina of 2005
Tragic end to a bombing raid
Treating gunshot wounds
Crime news infographics as old as crime

Advertisements


No Responses Yet to “Re-engineering the heart”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: