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Dar Es Salaam Medical Students' Journal

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History of diagnosis of cardiovascular diseases

C Lubinza

Abstract


BACKGROUND
Access to the anatomy, physiology and pathology of cardiovascular system organs has been made easy by the invention of various tools and techniques. One third of all deaths globally are due to heart diseases. Future predictions indicate that by the year 2020, heart diseases will be the leading cause of death globally; therefore early diagnosis is needed for a better prognosis. Tools that are currently central to diagnosis of cardiovascular diseases are: the stethoscope, sphygmomanometer,
electrocardiogram, emission techniques like X-rays and echocardiograms. From the early sixteenth through the twenty first century, these devices have been modified to increase their sensitivity and specificity.
For further modification of these devices, understanding the concepts of their discovery in the first place is inevitable.
OBJECTIVES
1. To elucidate the evolutionary understanding of the cardiovascular system

2. To show the historical discovery of some of the devices used in the diagnosis of cardiovascular system diseases

METHODOLOGY
This work was compiled by reviewing books, journals and websites with information on the historic advancement of diagnosis of cardiovascular diseases.
RESULTS
Before the 17th Century, knowledge on the cardiovascular system was much contributed to by Pliny and Galen (a Greek physician and teacher).
This knowledge came to be challenged in the 17th Century by William Harvey. His experiments led to the present understanding of the cardiovascular system, and are considered the greatest achievement of that century. The discovery of the sphygmomanometer was steered by reverend Hales who watched a horse’s arterial blood climb 8 feet six inches high in a glass tube. Dr. Laennec heard heart sounds better using folds of hard paper and so laid foundations for the discovery of the stethoscope.
The concept of the electrocardiogram began by the observation of bioelectricity by L.Galvan in 1787.
CONCLUSION
Humans always struggle to master their environments. As a problem arises, the need to understand better and modify the present solving techniques or invent new ones arises.




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