The Good Doctor: What is coconut heart? (medical condition explained)

THE GOOD DOCTOR - ABC's "The Good Doctor" stars Freddie Highmore as Dr. Shaun Murphy. (ABC/Art Streiber)
THE GOOD DOCTOR - ABC's "The Good Doctor" stars Freddie Highmore as Dr. Shaun Murphy. (ABC/Art Streiber) /

The Good Doctor‘s latest episode introduced a medical condition you may never have heard of. It was all about the condition called coconut heart.

We knew there was going to be a difficult case during the new episode of The Good Doctor. Dr. Park and Shaun had to work together to help a young boy, who had a stroke after a fall. It turned out that the medical condition was much more serious than initially believed, and the case was based on Will Yun Lee’s own son.

The episode titled “Hard Heart” seemed to connect to that story in a figurative way. After all, it was a hard case to deal with. However, it turns out that “Hard Heart” was a little more literal. Jordan’s grandmother has a condition called “coconut heart.”

If you’ve never heard of coconut heart, you’re not alone. I’ve watched plenty of medical dramas, and I don’t remember this condition coming up in the past. And Grey’s Anatomy is into its 19th season!

We learn that Jordan’s grandmother has a tight chest and swollen ankles. Asher offers to examine the woman, finding a sack of calcium deposits around the heart. Dr. Lim explains that this is “coconut heart.”

The heart has been completely calcified. It requires surgery to fix, and Jordan’s grandmother goes through two surgeries to finally feel better. This is a rare condition that sees the dystrophic left wall calcify, and it’s linked to chronic conditions such as rheumatic heart disease, tuberculosis, and end-stage renal disease. Calcium deposits form around heart valves and can reduce the blood flow. It looks like the heart is inside a coconut, which is where the name comes from.

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What did you think of the latest episode of The Good Doctor? Do you like learning about rare medical conditions?

The Good Doctor season 7 premieres on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024.