Episode 1: Endlessly Beating
The normal heart is a muscle about the size of a fist. With every beat it drives three ounces of blood through its intricate chambers and around five quarts throughout the entire body. Though we know much about how it operates, the heart is, nonetheless, a miraculous organ that has baffled the generations of scientists who have tried to mechanically replicate its power and efficiency.
Endlessly Beating examines the heart as a muscle - pumping almost 100,000 times a day, pushing approximately five quarts of blood in an endless course to deliver oxygen to every cell of the human body. This hour tells the story of the normal heart through the histories of three people with end-stage heart failure, where a pump may be a temporary remedy, but in the long term, a transplant is almost always necessary.
The three patients profiled live on the edge of life, existing in a compromised state that will inevitably need drastic intervention. Of the three individuals this hour follows, one will eventually receive the life-saving gift of a transplant; another must depend on an experimental new device to stay alive until a new heart can be found; and the third recovers with the aid of a heart pump, which lets his once-failed heart return to normal.