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October 25, 1971

[Lancisi] De Subitaneis Mortibus (On Sudden Death)

Author Affiliations

American Medical Association Chicago


translated by Paul Dudley White and Alfred V. Boursy, 212 pp, Jamaica, NY: St. John's University Press, 1971.

JAMA. 1971;218(4):600. doi:10.1001/jama.1971.03190170078041

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Giovanni Maria Lancisi (1654-1720) is little remembered today, although the "striae of Lancisi" may strike a familiar chord in the physician who is not too far removed from his neuroanatomy. But Lancisi, contemporary of Ramazzini, was a leading Italian physician who contributed markedly to our knowledge of aneurysms (his work on this subject was translated almost 20 years ago), and heart disease; and he substantially advanced the correlation of clinical and autopsy findings.

In 1705 and 1706 a great number of sudden deaths in Rome attracted considerable attention. Lancisi investigated many of the cases, carefully recorded the clinical history and the clinical course, and described the autopsy findings. He often was able to make significant clinicopathological correlations and he casually introduced much information about medical doctrine and theory at the beginning of the 18th century. In a great many cases the heart was either primarily or secondarily involved, and Lancisi's

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