Browse/search for people

Publication - Professor Havi Carel

    Towards a narrative cardiology

    exploring, holding and re-presenting narratives of heart disease


    Biglino, G, Bucciarelli-Ducci, C, Caputo, M, Carel, H, Hurwitz, B, Layton, S, Stretton-Downes, J, Tiwari, N, Wray, J & Vaccarella, M, 2019, ‘Towards a narrative cardiology: exploring, holding and re-presenting narratives of heart disease’. Cardiovascular Diagnosis and Therapy, vol 9., pp. 73-77


    Is it a pump or is it a pearl?

    Is it a muscle or is it a whale?

    Is that a scar or is it a medal?

    Heart symbolism goes beyond religious iconography and pop culture; it is imbued with experiential significance. But how to reconcile stories of heart disease and patients’ perceptions of their hearts with the more technical, anatomical and physiological dimensions of the organ? And why? These were the two fundamental questions underpinning a recent workshop exploring the possibility of a “narrative cardiology” (a tentative definition of a research and teaching area, itself explored during the event), which could help us find answers to these questions. The meeting (Figure 1) was held in Bristol at the Chocolate Factory, a creative space including artist studios in the city centre, and organised by the Bristol Heart Institute (GB) in collaboration with the Department of English (MV) of the University of Bristol with the support of the British Heart Foundation and under the auspices of the Centre for Health Humanities and Science (

    Full details in the University publications repository