how to treat a centaur heart attack


Going deep and analytical into the actual workings of barely-thought-out fantasy tropes is a MAJOR fascination of mine - I love the idea of accepting the fantastical creations of writers and then going "okay, how would this ACTUALLY WORK THEN?" Case in point: centaurs - what's THEIR deal? Half man, half horse, and ALL anatomical mysteries. See, the way centaurs are broken down is that it's the torso 'n up part of a human combined with the whole body of a horse (minus the head and neck). But that presents a problem, because (anatomically-speaking) the two halves share a whole bunch of organs, namely the heart.

So a doctor (@FredWuMD) took to Twitter to ask fellow medical professionals an incredibly important question - if a centaur was in the midst of a cardiac arrest, where would you presume the heart is? Where would you use defibrillator pads?

A fellow doctor, Eric Funk, MD, quickly jumped in to kick off the debate, which quickly led to mentioning hagfish (which has auxiliary 'hearts' in its body to assist with cardiac functions):

Eventually it was decided that an INTERNAL defibrillators would likely be necessary to zap a horse's heart, as conventional ones suited for humans wouldn't be able to get their charge through a horse's chest. In other words: this is now a surgical procedure as well.

Naturally, the conversation began to wander a bit towards other organs. While the debate was (mostly) settled as to what should happen in the case of cardiac arrest, what was the situation with the REST of the organs? Surely they couldn't all be potentially doubled-up like the heart could, right? 

So there you have it! Attempt to revive the human heart with external defibrillators (in case it supplies blood to the brain) and then surgically open up the horse part's chest cavity to utilize internal defibrillators to zap the heart that likely pumps blood throughout the rest of the body. Also, hey, check for the rest of the organs while you're in there, cool?