Is the heart a pump or a vortex?

Explaining why that crap is idiocy is immaterial and will not be helpful.

The psychopathology that leads your friend to try to deep breathe his hypertensive urgencies/emergencies away and to prefer to watch and endorse crackpot vids on youtube rather than engage in effective courses of action inclusive of (but not restricted to) significant lifestyle changes to some significant degree cannot be debated away. It is not an issue of logic. Putting him in the position of defending those irrational beliefs to you will, more likely than not, just solidify the strength of those irrational beliefs within him.

Sorry but your friend is a dead man walking and your well intended efforts to change his idiotic and self-destructive choices might make you feel like “at least I tried” but might even do more harm than good.

If you want a GQ answer, for your own curiosity, to how the heart is able to pump blood through the circulatory system then I expect someone here with some time can give you a thumbnail sketch of the how the system accomplishes it. Condensing it to a thumbnail though is beyond my ability.

ETA - it is very cool though!

Your shoes can be pumps. If you run really fast in a circle you could create a vortex. So applying that to the heart it’s obvious that guy’s heart is not vortexing enough blood to his brain.

I just figured it out.

The guy is a spin doctor!


Just what does this guy think a pump is? He says that it’s not a pump, then he describes it, and what he’s describing is a pump.

You can’t reason someone out of a position he didn’t reason himself into.

It’s (IMO) the same as people with autistic (or other special needs) children blaming vaccines. They desperately want their hardships to be someone else’s fault. So if he can convince himself that his coronary diseases are from “negative ions,” or sunlight, or kryptonite, then he can feel a tiny bit better that he’s not the one who failed.

Yeah, unless the OP has some narrow specialized definition of “vortex”, then the claim is pretty much nonsense … a vortex is simply rotational motion in a fluid, as something different from flow which is the linear motion of a fluid … so we have the heart-as-pump pushing the fluid down the blood vessels providing the linear force that causes this linear motion … if the fluid also has any rotational motion as it moves down the blood vessel, then I suppose we could characterize that motion as a vortex …

So, calling the heart a “vortex” is completely out-of-line … it’s a muscle … and not a fluid in any sense of the word … g …

Also, as far as I can tell, the article doesn’t actually call the heart a vortex. Instead, it says

FWIW vortices are in fact a seriously studied aspect of blood flow. Nothing at all to do with the woowoo crap of your link though. A fun vid. Can’t say I know enough about fluid dynamics to understand more than the pretty pictures though.

The closest I get to this vortex is to look at the type of pump.

There are two main ways to pump fluids, positive displacement - this is where the internal volume is squeezed and reduces such that the internal chambers are reduced in size - which evacuates the fluid through the outlets, this is especially easy to imagine in something like a piston engine or a heart. If there is no outlet or the outlet is blocked then the pressure continues to rise until something gives, either the pump cannot drive against a non-compressible fluid any more and stalls or something breaks

The other main type is the vane or fluid vortex type, here we have rotating vanes, such as in an aircraft engine, or perhaps in some types of air compressor, the internal space does not change in shape or size in any way, instead the vanes create a pressure on one side and a vacuum on the other, and the fluid - be it air or liquid will move from the higher pressure zone to the lower pressure zone, and if there is no outlet to release the pressure then it will build up to a point where back pressure is enough to prevent any further fluid passing through the vanes - blockage of the outlet is not likely to be harmful to the pump in mechanical terms but there may be serious heat build up.

There are different flavours of other pumps, such as peristaltic pumps which are similar to the way your intestines work, heat conversion pumps etc, but in general these are for relatively specialised purposes and not used to large volumes of fluid.

So what it appears to me is that your quack medic is doing is trying to conflate two engineering ideas, the vane pump which produces a vortex, and the positive displacement pump.

It is utterly clear that the heart is not a vane pump, it does not have vanes and has no rotating parts, additionally I also add that a vane pump does not need non-return valves, whereas positive displacement pumps absolutely must have them, in the human heart the leakages of non-return valves can be a significant medical problem that requires serious surgery.

Take this to your friend, the heart is a displacement pump, tell him to look the up the term displacement pump and add in human heart, tell him to look up the basic principles of pumps.

This quack I has no significant engineering knowledge, it is not my specialist area either but I have spent many a happy hour maintaining them - this is an ignorant person who seems to think that rest of us are not clear on very basic engineering terms and principles, this sort of shite would never have flown fifty years ago, and that’s because back then there were far more skilled hand-on people around, nowadays there is a general ignorance of such matters among a larger percentage of the population.

But does it echo?

It’s the stents that have kept him alive all those years. That’s a “waste of time”?

I had quadruple bypass surgery over four years ago. I recently had a heart cath test, which showed (as the doctor put it) “four beautiful bypasses.” Are you saying I could have avoided surgery with some kind of new age crap, and still be alive today?

Excellent point.

Kudos on the bypass surgery. It’s major stuff, but the good news is that once it’s done the effectiveness and survival rates are very high.

As an interesting side note, there has been a lot of new research on the use of PCI (i.e.- stents) as an alternative rather than just a complement to bypass surgery. The particular one I cited is one of a set of clinical trials designed to establish some relative risk/benefits numbers on bypass surgery vs. stents.

The motivation for the trials, besides the obvious fact that angioplasty is a far more minor procedure than bypass surgery, is to investigate whether angioplasty can be effective for multi-vessel stenosis with the use of advanced techniques like fractional flow reserve (FFR) cited in the paper. FFR means the selection of sites for stent insertion based on actual data from pressure-sensing wires rather than angiographic imaging. The idea is that if a patient has a large number of coronary arterial blockages, direct measurement of their effect on flow rate is more reliable than eyeballing the angiography. PCI has also become more effective in recent years with new stent technologies that help prevent restenosis. The hope is that perhaps PCI can eventually be shown to be effective for patients otherwise automatically destined for major bypass surgery.

Has anyone yet trotted out the old “You cannot use logic to dissuade a position not based on logic”?
The Web has been the first technology with such immense reach that cultures have no inherent safeguards against its potential for harm.
The airplane, automobile, and fission/fusion weapons all had predecessor technology, so the expansion of those rules allowed the new technology to be controlled.

Before the web, there were an occasional quack and nutjobs (People’s Temple, idiot “chain letters”, Alien abduction, etc).
These were very limited and of no threat to entire cultures.

At the risk of getting beyond GQ: the 2016 election was the flip side of the 2008. One used the Web to motivate; the 2016 used it to give voice to the small-town nutjobs who had been marginalized and ignored.

Since the Web is now global, it will need to be subject to certain basic standards of “decency”.

China will not allow certain (large parts of Chinese history to reach inside China; we don’t need to waste time trying to affect North Korea.

But we had better start talking about what we CAN do re

gawd, this is depressing as hell to consider.
I’ll stop.

yes, I did above when I said “you can’t reason someone out of a position he didn’t reason himself into.”

Do any of these people claim their hearts do not need one way valves ?
Do they have missing or defective valves to back up their claim ?

One way Valves are required in non-rotating pumps…
Why the valves if not required ? valve failure is a deadly thing to suffer…

These people are not using science, or logic, or sense. They are using ancient mysticism akin to ley lines.

Acupuncturepurportedly works because the “Qi (pronounced “chee”) is based on the ancient Chinese theory of the flow of energy. Qi and blood (xue) flow through distinct meridians or pathways that cover and fill the body, somewhat like the nerves and blood vessels. Open meridians are essential for optimal health.”

Phrenologyworked because:

Vortex theory appears to be a combination of these. The heart has separate sections for each part of the body and sends out vortices to those matching points and this does good somehow.

This is exactly as insane as phrenology and acupuncture. Acupuncture is accepted as medicine you say. The world is insane I say. Proof? Joseph Mercola on Acupuncture. You know how to tell when a procedure is quackery? If it claims to cure everything.

Another way to tell is when it’s just obvious blithering nonsense, like the three “causes” of heart problems cited in the OP. I did finally succumb to curiosity and took a quick look at Mercola’s site. It’s full of quackery like anti-vax crap, anti-flouride crap, and mysticism and pseudo-science of all kinds. They don’t just promote woo, they flat out lie about basic established facts. They claim, for instance, that the EPA “knows” that flouride is a neurotoxin at the levels being added to drinking water and is violating its own guidelines in allowing it. Utter bullshit. The EPA regulates fluoride because it can leach into groundwater in hazardous concentrations from weathering of flouride-containing rocks and soils and from industrial emissions, not from the monitored addition of minimal safe levels to drinking water.

What’s ridiculous is that this guy doesn’t understand physics and that his judgement of what is and what isn’t weird about the cardio-vascular system is worth less than most high school students I’ve met. Mind you I teach at a school with relatively smart students.

This on the other hand, is ridiculous, and shows why his evaluation of current knowledge is so off. The guy is a certifiable moron.

That’s not what it means to “document” something. It’s not the clarity of the terminology that matters, it’s the empirical evidence. At least in real science. In pseudo-science such as this … not so much.

AFAIK you can approximate blood flow through a cardiac valve as flow through a simple orifice; like this. vortices do indeed form along the sides of the duct/vessel immediately past the orifice, but they dissipate relatively quickly.
as an aside, notice how the drawing of the relatively smooth flow takes on the shape of a venturi. in areas where a device needs a flow restrictor, the most efficient way to do it by eliminating the vortices and flow separations is to shape the restrictor like- wait for it- a venturi.

As we know, the onus of proving any claims is on the person who makes those claims. I understand that the OP has the best interest of his friend at heart (no pun intended) but the friend is obligated to provide something like real evidence that these claims are true. Otherwise, they cannot be taken as true. For instance, if he can show evidence that “[t]he blood comes in and these areas of the heart create their individual spirals, and package up certain parts of the blood, like the old red blood cells, into a vortex and send it to the spleen, whereas another part sends the fresh new red blood cells up to the brain,” he’d have a YUGE scoop in the world of cardiovascular science. It’s up to the friend to prove these claims, not up to the OP to disprove them.