Cardiology | Hektoen International

Grokking: Cardiac rehabilitation by another name

Janice Kehler and Chris Kehler Middleton, WI (Winter 2018)   Grokking: to understand with empathy “It is a life-saving intervention,” said Dr. Randall Thomas, the director of the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, adding that participation rates were abysmal. Only 20% of eligible patients over the age of sixty-five enroll in […]

Ibn al-Nafis and the pulmonary circulation

  Medical advances are often made over long periods of time, making it difficult to assign priority to any particular individual. Such has been the case for the ”discovery” of the pulmonary circulation, a distinction variously assigned to three anatomists of the sixteenth century, Michael Servetus, Realdo Colombo, and Andrea Cesalpino. But in 1924 the […]

Coronary moments: reflections on the impossible anastomosis

Jason J. Han Philadelphia, PA (Fall 2017)   Coronary artery bypass surgery The arteries of the heart are called coronary arteries, meaning “of a crown.” Like a crown, they course around and adorn the walls of the heart, keeping it alive with vital nutrients and oxygen.  When these arteries are blocked, the heart starves, causing […]

Andrea Cesalpino ca.1520–1603

  Of the three 16th century Italians anatomists who advanced our knowledge about the pulmonary circulation, Andrea Cesalpino is perhaps the least known. Unlike Michael Servetus (ca.1511-1553) he was not burned at the stake for heresy. Unlike Roaldo Colombo (1516- 1515 ) he did not carry out thousands of dissections and work with Michelangelo; and […]

Realdo Colombo (ca.1515-1559)

  Although Italy during the Renaissance consisted of a mosaic of independent states, its inhabitants and particularly academicians seem to have moved freely from one city state to another. Thus it came about that the anatomist Matteo Realdo Colombo was born and educated in the principality of Milan (in philosophy and later as an apothecary); […]

Michael Servetus (ca.1511-1553)

  Michael Servetus is remembered for being burned at the stake for heresy and for making important observations on the pulmonary circulation. In his Christianismi Restitutio, a theological treatise that touched on medicine, he postulated that blood in the body was divided into different segments (which he called God- ordained spirits): one in the arteries, […]

Measure of the heart: Santorio Santorio and the Pulsilogium

Richard de Grijs and Daniel Vuillermin Beijing, China (Winter 2017)   Pulsilogium (center; line with a weight tied to a finger alongside a ruler) and thermoscope (right). (Sanctorius, S., 1626, Commentaria in primamFen primi libri CanonisAvicennae, Venice: Sarcina, p. 22. Woodcut and text; Credit: Wellcome Library, London) The heart is a musical organ. The irregularity of […]

The pulsilogium and the diagnosis of love sickness

Donatella Lippi History of Medicine and Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, University of Florence, Italy Giuseppe Mascia Institute of Internal Medicine and Cardiology, University of Florence, Florence, Italy Luigi Padeletti Institute of Internal Medicine and Cardiology, University of Florence, Florence, Italy (Summer 2014) Doctors since time immemorial have felt the pulse of their patients, […]

A theologian answers questions about the heart: St. Thomas Aquinas’ De Motu Cordis

Michael Potts Methodist University, North Carolina, United States (Summer 2014) An altarpiece in Ascoli Piceno, Italy by Carlo Crivelli (15th century) Suppose you are a high school teacher in a basic biology class and you have a question about the function of the heart. You decide to ask an expert, so you dial a university […]

What about the blood?

 W. Roy Smythe Texas A&M Health Science Center, Temple, United States (Spring 2011)   Red blood cells in a vessel by Jemère Bohnert © 2011 My beeper went off again. I got up out of my seat in the empty hospital cafeteria, walked over to the wall phone and dialed zero. Zero is exactly how […]