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December 15, 1956


JAMA. 1956;162(16):1492. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02970330064029

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To the Editor:—  The 1956 Nobel Prize for Medicine was awarded to one German and two American physicians for catheterization of the heart. According to news releases the experiments of Forssmann, the German scientist, date back to 1929. In this connection it may be of interest that catheterization of the heart was performed in 1908 by Fritz Bleichroeder, chief resident of the medical department of the Municipal Hospital Gitschienerstrasse in Berlin, Germany. Bleichroeder was in no way interested in the physiology or pathology of the heart. He was interested in the carbohydrate metabolism and wanted to obtain blood from the heart after 125 gm. of glucose was ingested. After numerous experiments on dogs without any accident, he successfully catheterized the heart of Joseph Portmann, laboratory technician at the hospital. Bleichroeder's approach to the heart was from the femoral vein. The procedure was done with a ureteral catheter. At the time

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