Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Attitudinally correct nomenclature
  1. A C Cook,
  2. R H Anderson
  1. Cardiac Unit, Institute of Child Health, University College, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children Trust, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
    Professor R H Anderson, Cardiac Unit, Institute of Child Health, 30 Guilford Street, London WC1N 1EH, UK;

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

For half a century, inappropriate terms have been used to describe the various parts of the heart in a clinical context. Does the cardiological community have the fortitude to correct these mistakes?

It is an undeniable fact that cardiac components are not always described according to the position they occupy within the body. This situation was initially drawn to our attention by Francisco Cosio. Thanks to his efforts, an attitudinally correct nomenclature was proposed to account for those features known to be of particular interest to those dealing with abnormal cardiac rhythms.1 The problem, however, is not confined to the electrophysiology laboratory. In this review, we will highlight other areas in which, currently, cardiac structures are not described appropriately with regard to the rest of the thoracic coordinates.

Thus, it is an accepted fact that all structures within the body are best described following the convention of the anatomical position (fig 1). Irrespective of the posture, or the location of the body, the subject is considered to be standing upright and facing the observer. Coordinates are then derived according to the three orthogonal planes. Orthogonal planes are at right angles to each other. For the body, two of these planes are in the long axis, while the third plane is transverse and in the short axis. The two planes in the long axis run from front to back, the sagittal plane, and from side to side, the coronal plane. Structures lying within different parts of the sagittal plane are then said to be anterior or posterior relative to each other, according to whether they are to the front or to the back of the body. Within the coronal, or frontal, plane, structures are described as being to the right or the left. Alternatively, within the frontal plane, structures can …

View Full Text