Morning Musically-Minded, Medically-Minded, Masticators!
(Today’s post is sponsored by the letter “M”)
Over the past 600+ episodes, The Simpsons has taken us on an amazing journey involving music, science, and food to name a few concepts.
And what better way to start your week, then by discussing some of these concepts Monday morning?
So let’s get started this week by talking about another medical condition, myocardial rupture.
In the thirtieth episode of The Simpsons, Old Money (Season 02, Episode 17), Grampa Simpson has a new girlfriend, Beatrice Simmons. Beatrice, also known as Bea, is a fellow resident of the Springfield Retirement Castle. Unfortunately when Grampa is supposed to take Bea out for her birthday, Homer whisks him away to Discount Animal Safari. When Grampa comes back, he learns Bea died of a burst ventricle.
But have you ever wondered what a burst ventricle is?
A myocardial rupture is when one of your four heart chambers (the right atrium, the right ventricle, the left atrium, or the left ventricle) ruptures/bursts/tears. Signs and symptoms include recurrent or persistent chest pain, syncope, and distension of jugular vein. Sudden death caused by a myocardial rupture is sometimes preceded by no symptoms.
Myocardial ruptures can occur following acute myocardial infarctions, blunt and penetrating cardiac trauma, cardiac infection, cardiac tumors, infiltrative diseases of the heart, and aortic dissection. As well, they can be severe complications of heart surgery or heart procedures (like pacemaker insertions).
While not well documented at the time the episode aired, recent studies have shown that myocardial ruptures can occur following stress cardiomyopathies, such as Takotsubo cardiomyopathy (also known as heartbreak disease). So when Grampa says that Bea didn’t die of a burst ventricle but of a broken heart, he was prognosticating what medical researchers would later determine is medically accurate. Your ventricle can burst due to a broken heart.
Mortality is extremely high unless early diagnosis is made and urgent surgical intervention is provided. In one case series, if myocardial rupture involved the free wall of the left ventricle, the mortality rate was 100.0%.
Now that we’ve learned more about myocardial ruptures, be sure to come back next week when we continue our Monday morning musings with the next episode of The Simpsons.
And don’t forget to vote in this weeks Bracket Battle!
Have you ever heard of myocardial rupture? Do you know anyone who has had a myocardial rupture? Did they experience Bea-like symptoms? What’s your favourite Simpsons illness reference? What about your favourite Simpsons Grampa related episode? Sound off in the comments below. You know we love hearing from you.