The growth of fundamental concepts in the medical world is very slow despite the many advances constantly made into unexplored regions. Often a generation or more of time elapses after a discovery before there dawns its full significance. The adequate correlation of certain discoveries, old or new, is often the most fundamental of all. It is of such a basic concept in its infancy that I would treat herewith.
Before 1500 A. D. heart disease as such was actually unknown. Rare individual cases may have been suspected or even recognized but they were not.written down. The general point of view was that if the heart should be injured in any important way death would come at once. Heart cases were being called something else—lung disease, dropsy, abnormalities of the humors, and so on. Then came the autopsy experience of the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries which revealed the common occurrence
WHITE PD. THE IMMEDIATE AND ULTIMATE PROGNOSIS IN HEART DISEASE. JAMA. 1939;112(23):2380–2384. doi:10.1001/jama.1939.02800230004002
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