A heart attack survivor, Dr Stephen Hussey discusses three main myths about what causes heart disease, with new understanding of how the heart really works
On 5 January, 2021, aged 34, I had a ‘widow-maker’ heart attack, so-named as only 12 percent of those who experience it outside of a hospital survive. Lucky for me, the emergency response was quick and the emergency room care was brilliant, so I am among those 12 percent survivors.
Having been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age nine, I am heavily predisposed to developing heart disease and throughout my entire adult life I had been looking into heart disease and how best to prevent it. To my surprise, and despite my best efforts to prevent it, I had a heart attack.
Ironically, a few weeks before the event I had finished the manuscript of a book that discussed all the fascinating things I had learned about the heart in my quest to understand heart disease. As I sat there in the cardiac ICU I was demoralised. I thought there was no way I could now release the book. Who would listen to me after this? However, after three days in the hospital surrounded by western medical providers and ideologies, I changed my mind.
Those three days in hospital made it very clear how misunderstood the heart is in western medical circles. The explanations of why I had a heart attack and the recommendations I received for after-care were not based in science and were, indeed, somewhat troubling, based on all I knew from my research. Also, I realised that neither the more than 650 research articles I cited in the book, nor anything I had written about them, changed just because I had a heart attack. Realising that many more people have gone through or will go through what I had experienced and would receive the same misunderstood information, I decided I had to publish.
So, here I want to highlight three of the most striking misunderstandings about the heart and heart disease that I discovered in researching my book, three factors that were critical to my recovery.
The heart is not the pump we think it is
The first misconception is the idea that the heart is a ‘pump’ that moves the blood throughout the body. In fact, the blood actually moves more or less on its own through mechanisms created when water stores radiant energy (from the Earth and natural light) and structures itself onto the lining of the blood vessels, creating an energy gradient that drives blood flow (see box).
If the heart is not responsible for moving the blood, then what is it and why is it there? The work of Dr Leon Manteuffel-Szoege offers some insight. He made great efforts during his career to, as he describes, ‘put the heart in its place’. In one paper he writes: ‘A pump sucks in fluid from a reservoir, which is a hydrostatic system and not a hydrodynamic one. The heart is a mechanism inserted into the blood circuit and so it is a very peculiar kind of pump.’1
What he means is that a pressure-
propulsion pump is one that takes water from a stand-still, like a lake or reservoir, and forcefully pumps it to another location. Since the blood moves on its own and it is therefore not at a standstill, a more accurate description is that the heart is situated in the midst of a system in which liquid is already flowing. Instead of comparing the heart to a pressure-propulsion pump, it is more accurate to think of a ‘pump’ system that works when liquid flows into it on its own. And there is such a system.
Rudolf Steiner, the late-19th century, Austrian philosopher, argued throughout his life that the heart actually functions as a ‘damming’ organ, whose function could be compared to a flow-activated, hydraulic ram. What does that mean?
Referring to Figures 1 and 2, you can see that water flows into the ram under the force of gravity through the pipe (I, H). The first chamber (A) catches the water. Some of the water spills out of the spill valve (B). Once enough water fills the chamber and pressure builds, the spill valve closes. Water then pushes up through the one-way valve (C) at the top. Water flowing through here ends up in a second chamber (D), compresses the air and building pressure. Once the pressure builds up enough, it pushes the water back down, closing the one-way valve (C). Since the water cannot go back the way it entered, it goes out through the pipe (G). Once it flows out, pressure drops throughout the system and new water flows into the first chamber (A), restarting the process.
The hydraulic ram is a good analogy for the heart, with two slight exceptions. The energy gradient that forms from energised water on the lining of the blood vessels drives the flow of blood through the veins towards the heart, much like gravity does in the hydraulic ram. Once it arrives, it flows into the right atrium (A); this is similar to the first chamber in the hydraulic ram.
This is the first difference. In the heart there is technically no spill valve (‘B’ on the hydraulic ram); instead, pressure builds in the atrium (A) as blood flows in, until there is enough pressure to open the atrioventricular, or tricuspid, valve (C). This is a one-way valve, just like in the hydraulic ram. Once this is open the blood flows into the right ventricle (D), mostly on its own, but it does get a little push from the slight contraction of the atrium.
Read the complete article in issue 108.