Thursday, September 8, 2016

William Harvey and human circulatory system

William Harvey discovered the actual function of the major elements of the circulatory system (heart, lungs, arteries and veins) and created the first complete and accurate picture of human blood circulation. Harvey was the first to use the scientific method for biological studies.

William Harvey (1578-1657) was born in England and received medical training at Oxford. He was invited to study at Padua University in Italy, the acknowledged medical center of Europe. After return to England he became Fellow of the College of Physicians, physician to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital and Lumleian lecturer at the College of Physicians.

He was appointed a physician in the court of King James I, and was then appointed personal physician to King Charles I in 1618.

His skillful dissections combined with accurate observations and careful reasoning led him to the idea that blood is closed in vessels and circulates the body – a closed circulatory system.

To study the action of the heart, Harvey used cold-blooded animals, since the slowness of their circulatory systems made the examination of the process easier. What Harvey noticed was that when the atrium of the heart contracted it forced blood into the ventricles.

When the ventricles contracted, the blood was forced into the arteries and to the tissues of the body. Harvey’s famous ‘Exercitation Anatomica de Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus’ was published in Latin at Frankfurt is 1628.
William Harvey and human circulatory system
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