Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Category: Cardiology

  • Two giants in thoracic surgery: Clarence Crafoord and Åke Senning

    Göran WettrellLund University, Sweden Clarence Crafoord Clarence Crafoord (1899–1984) was one of the most outstanding surgeons in Sweden during the twentieth century (Figure 1). He started his surgical training in the early 1920s. Postoperative complications such as obstructing pulmonary thrombosis were a frequent cause of death. In 1927, Crafoord performed two successful acute pulmonary embolectomies.1…

  • Jean-Baptiste de Sénac and his early textbook on cardiology

    Göran WettrellLund, Sweden William Harvey was an important figure in the early days of cardiovascular physiology. Based on meticulous observations, he published De Motu Cordis and Sanguinus in 1628 and has been proposed as the founder of physiology and cardiology.1 During the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, physicians such as Raymond Vieussens (1641-1715), Giovanni-Maria…

  • Heart to heart

    Frank BucharHamilton, Ontario, Canada I had a heart attack on Valentine’s Day. What are the chances? Later, when I thought about the funny parts, like the undershorts I happened to be wearing, it struck me that you can find humor, like tragedy or farce, anywhere if you choose to, if you attend closely enough. My…

  • Remembering Sir Thomas Lewis’ contribution to understanding heart failure

    Daniel GelfmanIndianapolis, Indiana, United States Sir Thomas Lewis (1881–1945) has been called one of the “fathers of modern cardiology” due to his many significant contributions to that discipline. In 1930 he wrote a landmark paper clarifying the disease “congestive (heart) failure,” revealing clues that are present in the jugular veins, for making the diagnosis and…

  • The importance of the “The David Sign”

    Daniel M. GelfmanThad E. WilsonIndianapolis, Indiana, United States A recent article in JAMA Cardiology titled “The David Sign” discussed the presence of “persistent” external jugular venous distention “hiding in plain sight” on one of the world’s most famous statues: Michelangelo’s David, completed in 15041 (Figure 1). David is shown just before his fight with the…

  • Richard J. Bing: Reflecting on a century of creativity and innovation

    Joseph BurnsYehuda ShapirNew Hyde Park, New York, United States As the tenth anniversary of the passing of Dr. Richard J. Bing approaches, the occasion offers an opportune moment to reflect on the life and momentous achievements of an eminent cardiologist. Richard J. Bing was born in Nuremberg, Germany on October 12, 1909.1 His father was…

  • William Harvey before King Charles I

    In 1628 William Harvey published his classic work De Motu Cordis (Of the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals) demonstrating that the blood passed from the left ventricle to the capillaries at the periphery and back through the veins to the right side of the heart. He received many honors for his work, and…

  • Early clinical and molecular discoveries in Long QT Syndrome

    Göran WettrellSweden Sudden and unexpected death in people who are less than thirty-five years of age is associated with negative autopsy results in forty percent of cases.1 Long QT Syndrome (LQTS) is one of the most common cardiac ion channelopathies to cause sudden death in young people. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, reports…

  • Human heart in Descartes’s De Homine

    The famous philosopher René Descartes had an interest in physiology. But although he is known to have carried out dissections and even vivisections, he was a theoretician and not an experimentalist. In 1643 he wrote that having read William Harvey’s 1628 De Moto Cordis he agreed with the theory that the blood circulated through the…

  • Character, genius, and a missing person in medicine

    Carrie BarronAustin, Texas, USA “He is the most un-talked about, unacknowledged, unknown and most important figure in the African American community…A genius.”1 In 1944, a surgeon with his trusted guide by his side performed the very first open-heart surgery on a fifteen-month-old, nine-pound girl. 1930, Nashville. A twenty-year old African-American man, honors student, and son…