Heart May Resemble An Accordion

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

The pumping action of the human heart, and how it subsequently pushes blood throughout the body, is similar to how music is made by playing an accordion, according to clinicians at the Ohio State University Medical Center.

Dr. Ragavendra Baliga, director of cardiovascular medicine at Ohio State University Hospital East, presented the hypothesis during the 12th annual scientific meeting of the Heart Failure Society of America in Toronto. Baliga co-authored an article in Heart Failure Clinics with Dr. James Young of the Cleveland Clinic's Lerner College of Medicine.


"In addition to having the properties of a suction pump, the heart functions as a sort of twisting bellows pump that is similar to the accordion," says Baliga. "Continued study of a theory that the human heart mimics the action of an accordion will lead to improved medical and surgical therapies to address heart failure."

The accordion is able to generate the maximum intensity of sound energy when it is most expanded before the musician compresses it to generate the sound. Similarly, the heart tends to generate the highest output when contracting from its most relaxed state. When the heart is not maximally relaxed, it is more likely to generate lesser cardiac output, which could result in symptoms of heart failure.

This theory is based upon findings from animal studies where the investigations found an accordion-like thickening of the ventricular wall, resulting in reduced pumping effectiveness. Improved magnetic resonance imaging resolution may allow investigators to identify ventricular wall thickening in the left ventricles of human hearts.

"Additional study is needed to understand normal left ventricle function in humans, and we hope this hypothesis will provide the impetus for further research," adds Baliga.