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Is the Heart Really a Pump?

Updated: Mar 15, 2022

In my blog post Why We Don’t See Atherosclerosis in Veins I introduced a concept known as EZ water and showed that when it forms in the lining of our blood vessels it serves as a protective barrier to the them. In that post, I mentioned how the formation of this EZ water also creates another phenomenon within our circulatory system. This phenomenon is one that is very relevant when trying to find out how the hemodynamics of our cardiovascular system work. This concept will help us decide if the heart is really a pressure propulsion pump, or if we really need it to be.

If you need a refresher on the EZ water formation in arteries and how it happens, go back to that other post before continuing. As I mentioned in that post, when EZ water forms in a tube the area that is the EZ water has a net negative charge because of how the water splits. Because EZ water excludes everything that isn’t itself, all the leftover hydrogen ions, along with the other contents of the blood, are pushed into the center of the tube. This creates a situation where we have a highly negative area right next to a very positive area.

In his lab, Dr. Pollack has found that this situation will actually create flow of the water without any other force acting on the water. In his book, he states that “…EZ’s bear charge, which means they carry electrical potential energy. Since nature rarely discards available potential energy, EZ charge may be used to drive diverse cellular processes ranging from chemical reactions all the way to fluid flows”. (1) He saw this in his lab, any time he put a tube made of hydrophilic material into a tub of water that had energy in the form of radiant light applied to it, the water would begin to flow through the tube on it’s own.

It is pretty safe to assume that since EZ water forms in blood vessels that this fluid flow phenomenon acts on the blood and helps with blood flow. But we don’t have to assume. In an email I received from Dr. Pollack this week he stated, “My student, Zheng Li, found that the “spontaneous flow” mechanism, i.e., spontaneous flow in tubes immersed in water, applies in the cardiovascular system. So, it’s not the heart alone that propels flow, but also the vessels. Manuscript in preparation.” Below is a picture illustrating this.

But how fast can this fluid flow? Pollack discusses how the charges can create quite the energy gradient that results in very quick flow. He says, “the electrical conductivity measured parallel to surfaces that ordinarily nucleate EZ’s is 100,000 times higher than the conductivity measured through bulk water.”

Not only did Pollack find that he could create a system where water flowed, but he found that “flow of this nature could persist indefinitely if the protons and water were continually replenished……sustained water flow occurs inevitably in almost any scenario involving EZ’s and radiant energy.” This explains why the radiant energy from the sun is so important to our physiology, as well as why infrared light from saunas has been shown to increased blood flow tremendously (2), and have a direct healing effect on the lining of our arteries. (3)

There have been some other interesting experiments that show this fluid flow effect in the cardiovascular system as well. In the 1960’s a scientist named Leon Manteuffel-Szoege showed, using dogs, that after the dog died and the heart stopped blood continued to flow for up to 2 hours with no beating of the heart. (4) It eventually stopped because no more energy was being applied to the system and the water could not maintain the EZ zone next to the arteries that was driving the blood flow.

I would argue that this method of blood flow is actually the main way that the blood is moved. I say this because looking at the heart as a pressure propulsion pump that forcefully pumps blood has also been called into question. (5) (I highly recommend reading this whole citation, especially those technical geeks and engineers out there) For instance, we are told that Cardiac Output = Stroke Volume (amount of blood leaving the heart per beat) x Heart Rate. Which would make sense if the heart was a pressure propulsion pump. However, after his exhaustive research for his book, The Heart and Circulation, Dr. Branko Furst states that “Artificial pacing of the heart in animals and in humans at rates up to four times above baseline shows the CO remains the same or even drops.” (6) How could the amount of times the heart pumps be increased, and the cardiac output remain the same?

Further, it has also been shown that the heart is a pretty inefficient pressure propulsion pump. One study found that if we look at the efficiency of the heart muscle cells based on the energy expenditure from the cells and the amount of blood it supposedly “pumps”, then the heart is only 15-30% efficient. (7) From an evolutionary perspective, for evolution to create something that is only 15-30% efficient at its job doesn’t make sense. Unless the job of the heart is not to pump the blood.

If the heart as a pressure propulsion pump does not make sense based on experiments, and the body has a mechanism of moving the blood without the heart, then how exactly does the heart work and why is it even there?

Well it turns out that the heart operates more like what’s called a hydraulic ram. (8) A hydraulic ram is flow activated (meaning fluid is already flowing into it propelled by some other force) and has no motor. Considering the blood has its own flow and the heart is a poor force producing organ this would make sense. Let’s compare the two and see what we find. The letters labeling the hydraulic ram image below may seem random, but they are that way so that you can match them up with their analogous structures in the heart image. For a video explaining the hydraulic ram go here.