Cardiology – Hektoen International

William Heberden on angina pectoris, 1772

  “There is a disorder of the breast marked with strong and peculiar symptoms, considerable for the kind of danger belonging to it, and not extremely rare… The seat of it and the sense of strangling and anxiety with which it is attended, may make it not improperly be called angina pectoris. Those who are […]

The man with a hole in his heart

There must be few people in the world who can locate with confidence Northern or Southern Rhodesia on a map of Africa. Yet these countries still exist, only the names have changed. Nor would the man who founded them win a contemporary popularity contest. In fact, his statue at the University of Cape Town was […]

Dominic Corrigan (1802-1880)

In the days when students were expected to have at least a smattering of medical history, they would have known that Corrigan’s sign and pulse were indicative of aortic regurgitation and would have guessed that Corrigan was Irish. Very few, if any, would have known about Corrigan’s cirrhosis, Corrigan’s button, or the maladie de Corrigan.1 […]

Grokking: Cardiac rehabilitation by another name

Janice Kehler and Chris Kehler Middleton, Wisconsin, United States   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, Pennsylvania, USA 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 crushing chest […]

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 Daniel Vuillermin Beijing, China   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 one’s inhalation and […]