Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Surgery is a Lifestyle

Or so says my elective preceptor, a general surgeon/surgical oncologist. Life is something you fit in around it. Things for me to ponder, to be sure, over the next two years or so. In the meantime, I'm loving my elective; in the new year I'll get some exposure to ENT/head and neck surgery.

At some point I need to write about non-medical topics, though. Before that point, I did notice something curious about some of the heart murmurs we've been learning about over the past few weeks. Last Tuesday I examined a patient with a very loud systolic murmur, indicating aortic valve stenosis. Every time this patient's left ventricle contracted, there would be a loud, transient whoosh as blood passed through his narrowed aortic valve. After listening for a bit, it suddenly dawned on me that the murmur sounded almost exactly like the alien signal from Contact.

Still a very cool movie - and now it provides a handy way of recognizing certain types of valvular disease.

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