One of the first things we do as medical students is get parceled off to a randomly assigned rotation somewhere within the hospital. Some of us got assigned to surgical teams operating in areas as diverse as orthopedics, urology, and neurosurgery. Others of us were assigned to non-surgical areas such as internal medicine, psychiatry, and physiatry.
I found myself in pediatric cardiology, which, at least here seems to deal primarily with the treatment of congenital heart defects. It’s been fascinating so far, and I’ve been very lucky to have a fourth-year student along to explain some of the basics to me. I’m constantly reminded of how much I’m going to learn over the next few years, and I have to say that it’s both exciting and intimidating.
One interesting tidbit I discovered was how the heart restructures itself right after birth as oxygenated blood supply switches from the umbilical cord to the lungs. It makes perfect sense to me now that I understand it, but it had never even crossed my mind until it was explained to me. Here’s a short animated video I found that illustrates this process: