Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
The Mysterious Human Heart The Mysterious Human Heart border=
A Series by David Grubin
Episode 1
Endlessly Beating
The Replacement Heart
Episode 2
The Spark of Life
Anatomy of a Pacemaker
Episode 3
The Silent Killer
Myths & Misconceptions
Tour of the Heart
Healthy Heart Guide
History of Cardiplogy
Patient Updates
Outreach Toolkit

Episode 2: The Spark of Life
The past 50 years have brought enormous advances in our ability to understand the precisely timed dance that squeezes the heart muscle and pushes out blood to the lungs and the rest of the body. Dramatic new treatments have been developed to help sustain its vital rhythm and to prolong life. These treatments, in turn, have inspired new, very modern dilemmas for patients and doctors alike. Even with advances, arrhythmias lead to 300,000 cases of sudden cardiac death in America each year.

In this hour, learn how the body's internal electrical system synchronizes the four chambers of the heart pushing blood throughout the entire body - once a second, 100,000 times a day, three billion times over a lifetime.

Episode Credits

When the heart's normal electrical current goes awry, the chambers of the heart beat out of rhythm and can't pump blood effectively. Without immediate medical intervention, ventricular fibrillation can lead to sudden cardiac death.
Tour of the Heart
Get a look inside the human heart. With this three-dimensional model, you can peel back the layers and point to elements you want to learn more about.
See More See More

Funding is provided by Medtronic, AstraZeneca, and Mars, Incorporated - makers of CocoaVia. Additional funding is provided by the Fannie E. Rippel Foundation. A co-production of David Grubin Productions, Thirteen/WNET New York and WETA Washington, D.C.
Medtronic AsrtaZeneca MARS Thirteen/WNET NEW YORK