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Archive for the ‘history of cardiology’ Category

Great men dream , but they just do not sit idle. They do what they are passionate about .History just follows them or they create it.Here is a brief story of an ordinary man born in a small European country Lithuania in 1921  ,lived much of his  life in the east coast of USA ,transformed into a brilliant cardiologist  based in Brigham Hospital , Boston.

He is Dr Bernard Lown , best known as a founder of what is used in every coronary care unit and cardiac surgical theaters around the world . Yes, the DC cardioversion was invented by Lown in the year 1961.(Of course,  it was an Improvement  upon the  pioneering work of Zoll’s AC power line  for defibrillating   the heart  which was impractical and caused much injury )

 

drlown_history

Dr.Bernard Lown (Born 1921) ,With his Invention of DC Cardioversion machine Currently  working in  Harvard University

 

He was also the brain behind the  conversion of local anesthetic agent Lignocaine to cardiac anesthetic  which revolutionized the treatment of ventricular arrhythmia.(What a simple  but a path breaking  idea to use membrane stabilising action of local anesthesia to sedate the heart when it behaves erratically !)

We can also credit him for  rediscovering  Digoxin and found the secret that potassium supplementation can largely overcome  toxicity of this drug which was otherwise lifesaving in dilated , failing hearts  running amok with delirium tremors (Surname for Atrial fibillation in those days !)

While the Invention  of DC cardioversion had  a dramatic impact all over  world , he simultaneously popularized the concept of coronary care units along with Julian in London and Dr Day in Kansas city.

Its said great men’s mind  are perennially restless.Accordingly ,he was worried about the impending nuclear war with USSR and other global powers then. He collaborated with Russian cardiologist Dr. Eugene Chazov. It became a hugely popular peace organisation  International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPN) for which he got ultimately the Noble prize for  in 1985.

 

bernard-lown-dc-cardioversion-lown-institute

During one of his Noble lectures (Linked to video)

 

 

It turned out to be “lovely Irony” for a man who probably should have got a Nobel prize for medicine for inventing DC cardioversion ,  ended up with Nobel peace prize for  his fight against a man made disease called  “Nuclear proliferation”.

Its heartening to note he has visited my country(India)  and was  awarded with Mahatma Gandhi peace prize  as well.He is now 95, active in Harvard   currently turned his vision towards eradicating Inappropriate medical treatment from the noble profession .I wonder , for a man who fought against a  nuclear war, what does this new Initiative mean ? Does he equate the medical profession in its current form and the direction in which travels to something that’s  grossly unacceptable ?

Whatever it is , I humbly endorse his views and has since dragged me to  his Institute.

lown-image

I just joined the institute and signed  a declaration . I wish every physician who take oath on Hippocrates should strengthen Dr Lown’s Doctrine .

Reference 

Link to Wikipedia

nobel-prize-in-medicine-cardiology-drsvenkatesan-venkatesan-madras-medical-college

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The field of cardiology has seen great men over the centuries. Few women have permanently stamped their presence  in that history .Jane Somerville can be termed mother of pediatric cardiology along with Maude Abbott She has a fascinating life history , having  worked  in Royal Brompton  , Imperial  and Guys London.She was mentored  by  pioneers like  Paul wood , Blalock and others .She is primarily interested in the pediatric cardiology especially congenital heart surgeries .The classification  of pulmonary atresia with VSD  goes with her name.

jane somerville

Dr. Jane Somerville : British cardiologist , (b-1933 )

She carries the credit  of  starting  the Pediatric cardiology world congress in 1990 ,is the founder of GUCH (Grown up children with congenital heart disease.) .

Here is a rare  interview  from he  to Dr Robert Califf  for Heart.org. For  those,who like to  have a glimpse of  cardiology in its vintage  times , don’t miss it.Dr Jane addresses the past treasures , explores specific issues of facing pediatric cardiology  and frank expression about the issues of women being a cardiologist  in a man’s world.

 

She has a foundation in her name that helps the children and adults with congenital heart disease.

somerville foundation

Reference

The landmark paper in BHJ 1970

pulmonary atresia

 

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Men are from Mars , and  Women are from Venus  ” . . . Do you agree ?

Many probably witness the much talked  differential behavior among the gender  every day. Its argued , men take more risk in life ( often  senseless !) , some go to the extreme to  suggest  Men are Idiots and decorate them with a  provocative title  MIT (Men Idiot Theory ) (Mcpherson 2011).Risk taking is important in life, but at  what cost ? Does women (Who  are caring by nature )  help themselves  and the society by less risk taking behavior ?

I stumbled upon this rare piece of writing from BMJ which  would demand  in depth analysis  into this gender phenomenon based on  evolutionary biology and genetics.

This article concludes, Yes, men  . . . indeed  tend to take some foolish risks in various life situations that result in potential harm.

Gender difference in medical outcome men are from mars women venus male idiotic theory darwin theory

What is the influence of MIT on medical profession and patient outcome ?

Now , Iam compelled to ask  a hypothetical question .Does women medical professionals take  less aggressive stance and low risk taking behavior  and in the process result in less mortality and morbidity to our patients  ?

I would think the answer to that question  would be in affirmative .I wish  BMJ or anyone  should design a study on this issue.

Reference

1.Harris CR, Jenkins M, Glaser D. Gender differences in risk assessment: why do women take fewer risks than men? Judgm Decis Mak2006;1(1): p. 48-63.

2.Eckel CC, Grossman PJ. Men, women and risk aversion: experimental evidence. In: Plott CR, Smith VL, eds. Handbook of experimental economics results. Vol 1. North-Holland, 2008:1061-73.

3.McPherson J. Women are from Venus, men are idiots. Andrews McMeel, 2011

4.Northcutt W. The Darwin Awards: The official Darwin Awards: 180 bizarre true stories of how dumb humans have met their maker. Orion, 2004.

 

 

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William  I am Harvey first discovered human circulatory system in the year 1628 .Published his work in  De Motu Cordis” (otherwise known as “On the Motion of the Heart and Blood”) as a 72 page booklet in Frankfurt book fair. The world of medicine changed  forever , and new system of human circulation was born.

Read this now

Who first invented human circulation william harveyExcerpts  from   Chinese classic of Internal medicine , written  2000 years before William Harvey,

All the blood is under the jurisdiction of the heart .Twelve blood vessels are deeply hidden between the muscles and cannot be seen.Only on the outer ankles are visible because there is nothing to cover. All other blood vessels that are on the surface are  veins. The harmful effects of wind and rain enter the system first through the skin , being conveyed to the capillaries. When these are full , the blood goes in and turn empty into the big vessels .The blood current flows continuously in a circle and never stops

Post-amble

Of course , this in no way takes credit away from any body .William Harvey collected  every data on circulation available at that time , and  came with that classic De Moutu Cordis ,  the importance of which is undisputed. But ,history time and again tell us there are silent restless brains pondering over important  concepts all over the globe .Whoever has the access to scientific  facility , proves the same  point ,  publishes first and gets attention . After all thoughts are never rewarded in human domain ! (God , does it I guess  !)

Reference

1.Hume E.H Medicine in china ,old and new,American medical history 1930; 2;272-280

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Today , we  post cases for coronary angiogram , just like sending clients to breakfast table ! Close your eyes. Think for a moment. It is heartening to know how cardiac catheterization grew from a humble beginning . We know , Forssman , Cournand  and Richardson  who shared the Nobel price  for Inventing  cardiac catheterization in 1930s .

Soon after it’s  invention it was criticized by most, few ridiculed it outright , few others wondered about it . One man from the iconic  Grady memorial hospital  , attached to Emory silently  adopted this  procedure and almost single-handedly  did more than 1500 cardiac catheterization procedure. (Between 1940-50s)

How many of us know this man  from  Atlanta ,Georgia  ?

Some times history appears unkind. He is Dr Steads . . . to be precise Dr.Eugene Anson Stead Jr. ( 1908,  –  2005)

stead_eugene

Born in a humble background in the suburbs of Atlanta , became a great medical teacher , researcher and educator . He is one of the founding  fathers  of cardiac catheterization . Defined it’s usage in  clinical cardiology . The other major  achievement was his strong conviction that  medical science is indeed simple  but made complicated by complex concepts .This  thought transformed  in him ,  as he found the concept of physician assistant . He believed focused medical knowledge in young and enthusiastic  mind can make huge  difference in the way medical knowledge  is disseminated, applied and consumed .What a stunning truth even today !

grady_hosptial_pc

The legacy of Grady continues which is one of the largest public hospital in USA with special affinity to poor and low-income population.

The lab which Dr Stead worked was later taken over by Dr  Noble O Fowler* , another great cardiac physician continued the research and wrote the famous book on cardiac diagnosis and treatment.( * I think it should be in early 1950s when Dr Stead left for Dukes)

Final message

Invention of a concept is one thing . Accepting it , trying it ,  improving it ,  disseminating it , is an equally important  contribution to science. Dr Stead did exactly that .He remained  a positive force in  propagation of medical knowledge, made it  available for those  people who need it .

He passed away on June 12, 2005 at the age of 96 leaving behind a huge legacy .It will be  an  error if we don’t teach our  young students history of such great men , in medical  schools today  !

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Medical research   often ventures into a directionless and meaningless  exercise with or without intention .The reason is simple , unlike  other fields,  scientists enjoy  the ultimate freedom of expression.

How to find genuine treasures from this chaos ?

We need people like Valentine Fuster ,

valentine fuster global cardiology what is the future

Here is link to the article in   circulation 2011  which I consider a must read for all cardiologists !

global  cardiovascular health valentine fuster circulation 2011

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I wish to  be in New Zealand , not only because of the stunning  natural beauty but also to pay tribute to one of the great  cardiac surgeons  of our time from Auckland .
An alluring  country side cricket ground  abutting the runway  . . . Queenstown I think !

Sir Brian Gerald Barratt-Boyes (1924-2006), Who pioneered all forms of  heart surgery that  specifically included  complex congenial heart disease . Thousands of Kiwi   children are alive and leading a  magnificent life today  because of this  man from Green lane an alumni of Mayo .

barret boyce tof intra cardiac repair cardiac surgeon

Many heart surgeons from India and Asia pacific have trained under him .

greenlane

Green lane Hospital Auckland.

This is the  hospital where Barrat Boyes worked headed the department of cardiac surgery .He had to over come large bureaucratic hurdles before becoming world ‘s leading cardiac surgery center. And , he lives everyday  in all cardiac units   through this book .

barratt boyce kirklin

Here is a link to pay tribute to this extraordinary man.

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