That after exercise the normal heart occupies a diminished area has long been known (Herschfelder). The use of this fact in the estimation of pathologic heart muscle values is of the greatest importance and has been strangely neglected. Guthrie1 has shown the clinical value of this property of the heart muscle. He measures the cardiac condition by the duration of dilatation of the auricles after coughing, until the heart returns to normal boundaries by virtue of the basic property of all heart muscle, that is, contractility. It should be recognized, however, that both tonicity and contractility are intermingled and inseparably concerned in such tests of cardiac soundness.
The method with which the present paper deals is contrary to the generally accepted dogma that the heart dilates after exercise, especially in pathologic conditions. But on the contrary, after moderate exercise there is nearly always a reduction in size, sometimes marked, sometimes
LEVITON MB. CLINICAL OBSERVATIONS ON THE CONTRACTILITY OF THE HEART. JAMA. 1915;LXIV(19):1575. doi:10.1001/jama.1915.02570450037014
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