A video released by the north American medical center earlier this month shows a heart continuously beating for almost half an hour after it was removed from a patient who needed a transplant after abusing cocaine for more than a decade.
The video below (warning: graphic content!) demonstrates a few seconds of the 25-minute period in which the heart reportedly kept beating.
The doctors were more than surprised as they watched the organ beat for so long. Usually, it takes about a minute for a human heart to stop beating after removal.
Dr Klaus Witte, a consultant cardiologist at Leeds General Infirmary, thinks the heart was probably pumped full of medical stimulants to keep the patient alive and the heart beating.
“This heart, it’s not beating. Those are not normal contractions. It’s twitching in a desperate way,” he told the Daily Mail.
Indeed, the heart in the video looks none too healthy. Apart from being out of the original owner’s chest and beating convulsively, it is about three times larger than normal. It is a vivid demonstration of the results of years of cocaine abuse: the drug is known to raise pressure in blood vessels and reduce blood and oxygen flow to the heart, which makes the heart work too hard and grow in size.