It was in the early 1970s that I took part in a student elective at the cardiac surgery unit in Glasgow, Scotland, where I was able to watch replacements of mitral valves with prosthetic valves; a technique that was cutting edge at the time. This is now a frequent and standard practice offered in many hospitals around the world, but at that time open-heart surgery was new, exciting and almost miraculous. The first successful human cardiac transplant had occurred only a few years before in 1967. The valve-replacement patients woke up with huge amounts of anticoagulants on board that made them bruise very easily, and a heart valve that kept them awake at nice with its incessant click, click, click… I was surprised at how difficult it was actually to see this great lump of stainless steel ring on a Chest X-ray.
This picture contains a young person who had mitral valve disease brought about by rheumatic fever, with a valve replacement. The valve is visible on the image. I superimposed it on a photo of the lid of a Shred-X bin and overlaid it with a dark sparkly plastic reflecting the light in a myriad of circles radiating out of the chest X-ray.
This picture didn’t seem to flow as easily as previous ones, probably because I am thinking too much about it. I have landed with two points of focus, though it is difficult to know how to correct that.