Pectoriloquy |

Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation FREE TO VIEW

Joseph Gascho, MD
Author and Funding Information

Editor’s Note: The author writes, “Physicians speak a language that is not understood by many patients. Even the name of an illness may terrify the patient. This poem describes how a patient may interpret the words in a common diagnosis, paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. Such misinterpretation may adversely affect treatment and cause undue anxiety. I am a non-invasive cardiologist on faculty at Penn State University College of Medicine. I have a joint appointment in the Humanities Department and teach first and second year humanities classes.”

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians. See online for more details.

Chest. 2015;147(4):1194. doi:10.1378/chest.14-2428
Text Size: A A A
Published online

Not one word
in the name of this crazy pounding
that starts boom
just like that
  in the  middle of my chest
in the middle of the night
   or at 2 p.m. and
 flies up through my neck to
my jaws and has me thinking
  I will drop  dead
not one word
in its name
that even a person who went to college
would know. They talk about
the upper chamber and all I can remember
is the porcelain potty Grandma
used in the upstairs bedroom
when she was  85 and couldn’t
  make it  down the steps, the one
 mama emptied  every morning. They
   talk about fluttering
and it makes me think of the chicken bodies
jumping all over the back yard
after papa cut off their heads. And why
can’t they just say “every now and then”?
They say don’t worry,  the
 rat poison  ( they call it warfarin
) will keep  the blood from  clotting
  and the diltiazem will stop the heart
But when they call something
a name like this
it must be bad.




Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).

Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

Find Similar Articles
  • CHEST Journal
    Print ISSN: 0012-3692
    Online ISSN: 1931-3543