Angioplasty is a procedure performed after a ‘heart attack’ to increase blood flow through a narrowed coronary artery. The groin is cannulated and a dye injected which shows on a special X-ray image or angiogram. A wire is inserted into the artery with a balloon on the end, to stretch the narrowed portion. The patient is mildly sedated and slightly restrained and given the choice of watching the procedure on screen.
A visit to the landscape of the Delphi Valley in the West of Ireland was the inspiration for the use of water-mapping as a metaphor for the coronary circulation.
Hydrography of the heart
The sky is an unbroken blue when his swing at the sixth
squeezes his chest.
The fairway far-off in the airless grip.
Encased in the Cath-Lab bed now he eyes
the grey shiver of his heart displayed on flat screen.
Rivers of dye flood the landscape
filling streams, finding strictures and parched pastures.
Branches filter back to brooks upstream.
Without warning a black wire worms its way
where children, some picking primroses
others ankle-deep in a cool creek
steady as stooped statues, falter
at the flick of a stickleback.
He reaches a tethered hand to rescue his heart.