Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Predicting heart attack

Shridhar Dwivedi
New Delhi, India


Poet’s statement: Coronary artery disease and heart attack have become epidemic among South Asians both at home and abroad. Identifying the disease at a very early stage is the best way to prevent a heart attack. This poem pens the features, or clues, that can predict the development of a heart attack in the near future. In modern medicine, so much emphasis is placed on technology to make a diagnosis in the preclinical phase that this poem seems a more novel approach.


Manic Heart

Manic heart
Mark W. Lubich
Acrylic on canvas
21” x 21”

Predicting heart attack
One who smokes hookah1 bidi2 or cigarette,
Strews stubs bedside smoking late night,
Chewing tobacco gutka3 masala4 left right,
Central bulge weight plus snoring day night.
Emitting nicotine masala fragrance all way,
Life full of hurry worry and curry most day,
Texting SMS while walking driving at bay,
Alarm bell ringing heart grave and grey.
Premature salt-pepper hair balding much fast,
Ring of fat in eye appearing early lipid cast,
Creamy cholesterol plaques on eyelids so fast,
Sullen face flushed with anger rage aghast.
Cracked ashen lips small ulcers in mouth,
Early worn out teeth tobacco habits uncouth,
Carbon soots on palate gum teeth north south,
Pieces of nuts gutka peeping smudging gum mouth.
Ear lobe crease black lines skin tags manifest,
Hands over center of chest panting first sight,
Palm smeared with tobacco acacia and scent,
Heart attack stroke not far prediction so right.
Parkinson’s frozen face or paralytic gait,
Diabetic with puffed wounded foot and bait,
Nature foretelling many ways heart in dire straits,
Perceive prevent or perish your heart no wait.


  1. This is a traditional way of smoking in villages and suburban towns where smoke is filtered and cooled in a pot of water and then inhaled through a pipe.
  2. Tobacco wrapped in dried leaf—a popular way of smoking among socio-economically poor people, as it is very cheap.
  3. Oral chewable tobacco mixed with betel nut and fragrant substances, highly cardiotoxic as well as carcinogenic.
  4. Oral freshener containing spices and sometimes mixed with scented tobacco.



SHRIDHAR DWIVEDI, MD, PhD, FRCP is a physician-cardiologist at Hamdard Institute of Medical Sciences and Research of Hamdard University in New Delhi, India. His major area of interest is preventive cardiology and the “human” aspect of medicine.

About the artist
MARK W. LUBICH graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in history. He served as a captain in the US Army and was medically disabled in 1988. He has chronic sarcoidosis, COPD, and a blood disorder. He is a self-taught artist who works with mixed media and glass. He incorporates fused glass with mixed media collage and creates sculptural glass pieces. Lubich won several awards, including two gold medals in the 2009 Annual Veterans National Arts Festival. In 2010, Minot State University purchased his fused glass sculpture, Warrior Moon for its permanent art collection. His career is documented in Who’s Who in America (2010, 2011). Recently, his work has been exhibited at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art in California, the Surrey Art Gallery in British Columbia, Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, and the Ames Mansion Library in North Easton, Massachusetts. You can view Manic Heart and other works at his website Mark Lubich Fine Art.


Highlighted in Frontispiece Winter 2012 – Volume 4, Issue 1
Winter 2012  |  Sections  |  Poetry

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