It is extraordinary that, after continuous use for 130 years, the study of the action of digitalis retains so vital an interest, not only in clinical medicine, but also in experimental pharmacology. This interest has been quickened by the fundamental investigations of James Mackenzie on the mechanism of the heart beat and by the construction by Einthoven of a galvanometer suitable for registering the action currents of the heart.
I mention James Mackenzie especially, because in the bewildering variety of studies which he has stimulated he has, almost alone, kept in view the essential objects of investigation in the domain of cardiovascular disease. These are, first, the study of symptoms suggesting the presence of incipient heart disease, and second, the study of the mechanism of heart failure and its treatment. His study of the disturbed rhythms of the heart was undertaken to ascertain whether they had a vital relation to
COHN AE. CLINICAL AND ELECTROCARDIOGRAPHIC STUDIES ON THE ACTION OF DIGITALIS. JAMA. 1915;LXV(18):1527–1532. doi:10.1001/jama.1915.02580180031010
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