Why is the left atrium on the right?


Q: In your article about congestive heart failure in the January issue, you had an illustration that showed the left atrium and the left ventricle on the right, and the right atrium and right ventricle on the left. I can’t be the only person who caught that, right?

Gary Riccardi
Derry, New Hampshire

Dear Mr. Riccardi,

A: You are not the only person who “caught” it, but the illustration is labeled as it should be. Think of it like this: If you were looking down at your own chest, the left part of your heart would be on the left, and the right part on the right. But for someone looking at you, it’s a mirror image. What’s left looks right, and vice versa. Medical illustrations for dogs work the same way.


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