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A Piece of My Mind
May 20, 1998

Holding the Heart

Author Affiliations

Edited by Roxanne K. Young, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 1998;279(19):1520. doi:10.1001/jama.279.19.1520

It is something I take for granted, now. Something I have assistants to do. But to hold the living heart of another human being is among the rarest of privileges. Those so favored should never lose sight of the inherent mystery and wonder of the experience. When you hold the heart you can know its story. You can read, as if in Braille, the brittle threads of atherosclerosis. You can feel the heft of ventricular hypertrophy or the flaccid ennui of dilated cardiomyopathy. When you hold the heart you can know almost all of its secrets.