From the Valentine's Day archives: What a beating heart is really doing

It may not be what love looks like, but thanks to a McMaster engineering specialist, here's a chance to see what a beating heart really looks like.

Does your heart beat for someone? Did you think this is what it looked like?

When a loved one's heart beats for you on Valentine's Day, what is it really doing?

Just in time for the holiday for lovers, a McMaster University specialist in medical imaging offers up a view of beating heart so you can see exactly what is going on in the organ we associate with our deepest feelings.

McMaster University biomedical engineer Mike Noseworthy was asked by the university to provide a picture of an actual heart for a Valentines Day story, but he did one better: he sent them a MRI video of his own beating heart. Using what he calls "cine" or video mode is an important tool.

"Using cine mode there's so much that can be better understood about the hear," he told CBC.

The MRI video shows a decidedly unromantic side view of his heart, but it offers a graphic window into its life-sustaining function. Noseworthy says the view is called the long axis view- an important one for assessing the health of the heart being examined.

"To get the images we need we have to get the MRI to acquire the pictures at these really strange angles," said Noseworthy.

"The working heart is moving.  So, when we are looking at a diseased heart we want to see how things are moving in this cine (i.e. video) fashion." 

Noseworthy is part of a Canada-wide research project that is taking images of the hearts, liver and brains of roughly 11,000 people to assess heart health. The video was provide to CBC by the University.

The study is a collaboration between the university's engineering health sciences faculties, something he says the university is good at fostering.