Posts Tagged ‘apex vs base of heart’

Any structure which has a foundation on which it  stands is generally called base or basement. By tradition   base is  synonymous  with bottom .Ironically , for  heart this rule does not apply. This is the core area of confusion. The heart is a complex shaped  3D organ with multiple surfaces with  4 chambers connected  each connected to its own  great vessel .

shape of the heart base and apex of heart

We know  heart is  simply suspended by these vessels inside the middle mediastinum and  anchored  with ligamentous attachment to chest wall, diaphragm  through pericardium .

Now, traditionally the heart was thought to  be cone like stricture with  apex located near the left mid clavicular line .

base of heart apex  waht is the shape of the heart

If there is  an apex there must be a base  .So ,  we  reasoned the highest and farthest part of the  heart  must be  the base .  Paradoxically , this base is at the top ,  and  not in the  traditional sense  of bottom .

Like wise ,  during auscultation  the  events  in the base represent the great vessel  and semilunar activity  (Anteriorly )

Baseless  base

Clinical base is not the anatomical base . When a patient lies  on his back  essentially  the atria and posterior aspect of ventricles form the  base . In  erect posture the  diaphragmatic surface becomes  the true anatomical  base  of the heart .

Further confusion during  Echocardiography

It is well known , basal LV function is a critical determinant of LV function .But we should be very clear  what area we are talking about ! Basal  aspect   can  lie   either  superior , inferior , anterior  even  posterior surface  of left ventricle .(It took me years to realise this simple fact !)

Similarly   basal septum  can mean either a LAD zone or even RCA zone one has to specify basal  anterior septum to define LAD zone ischemia .

(Please note , this is contrast to clinical cardiology where  the  base of the heart refers only to anterior aspect of heart ! )

FInal message

Calling  a  particular portion of the heart as base  would be an  anatomical misnomer . This  nomenclature is based ,  more  by  tradition and  our faulty  perception .(As visualized   by anatomists and pathologists )

We have come a long way  from the Da Vinci  days. Modern cardiologists  with  sophisticated imaging techniques would like to  call  the basement of heart  differently  in the future and correct the nomenclature issues.

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