So you can see the heart, although lot of emotion and feeling are attached to it, is just a magnificent pump that keeps you alive and kicking. I do not intend to take away the romance attached to the heart. You do not have to go home and tell your loved one that I love you with all my pump nor do you have to express your feelings from the bottom of my pump.
After working with hearts for the last half century, I can say with some confidence that the heart is a magnificent pump the like of which we human beings cannot even come close. After spending millions of dollars and over four decades of research the artificial hearts what we have developed are very cumbersome expensive and difficult to use with unsatisfactory results for long term use. Now only we are coming close to getting a reliable power source and can have patient survival over two years.
The heart is like any other pump it has four chambers and four valves. Aortic, mitral, Pulmonary and Tricuspid guarding the outlets of all four chambers the two low pressure chambers atrial and two high pressure chambers the ventricle. The problem arises if these valves get narrowed or start leaking. Initially the heart can overcome these problems as it has a large reserve. In the latter stages the heart is unable to cope and this results in heart failure and the valves require surgical correction consisting of repair or replacement. In our country there is still a large incidence of rheumatic fever which initially effects the joints in children and if not treated promptly results in rheumatic valve disease, when the individual grows up. Fortunately the incidence of rheumatic fever is decreasing because of early availability of antibiotics and improving standard of living and better nutrition.