Cardiovascular

Cardiovascular: timeline of key events

Harvey was the first physician to describe in detail the pump action of the heart and the circulation of blood. He published this work in 1628. His findings sparked controversy at the time because they challenged Galen's teachings that blood passed between ventricles through invisible pores and the traditional view that blood circulation involved two separate systems. 1578-04-01T00:00:00+0000Harvey was an English physician. He was the first physician to describe in detail the pump action of the heart and the circulation of blood. He published this work in 1628. His findings sparked controversy at the time because they challenged Galen's teachings that blood passed between ventricles through invisible pores and the traditional view that blood circulation involved two separate systems. 1657-06-03T00:00:00+0000Withering was a physician who made the first systematic investigations of digitalis. He is said to have started studying it after noticing that a person with dropsy (swelling from congestive heart failure) improved after taking a traditional herbal remedy that included an ingredient from the foxglove plant. Following this he made careful assessments of extracts from foxglove leaves to establish what dose was safe to administer to patients. He published his findings in 1785. This paved the pay to use of digitalis as a treatment for steadying and strengthening heart action. 1741-03-17T00:00:00+0000Withering was a British physician who made the first systematic investigations of digitalis. He is said to have started studying it after noticing that a person with dropsy (swelling from congestive heart failure) improved after taking a traditional herbal remedy that included an ingredient from the foxglove plant. Following this he made careful assessments of extracts from foxglove leaves to establish what dose was safe to administer to patients. He published his findings in 1785. This paved the pay to use of digitalis as a treatment for steadying and strengthening heart action.1799-10-06T00:00:00+0000Allbutt was an English physician who is renowned for inventing the short clinical thermometer. He introduced the instrument in 1866. It was a marked improvement on the previous foot-long thermometer which took 20 minutes to register a patient's temperature. In 1871 he introduced the use of the ophthalmoscope to inspect the interior of the eye. A few years later, in 1894, Allbutt determined that the painful heart condition angina pectoris stems from the aorta. 1836-07-20T00:00:00+0000A physician and physiologist, Richards shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1956 for helping to develop cardiac catherisation. The technique involves the use of a flexible tube inserted at the elbow vein which is then pushed up to the heart. He developed the method at Bellevue Hospital in New York in collaboration with Andre Cournand. The technique enabled them to study and characterise traumatic shock and the physiology of heart failure as well as to evaluate the effects of cardiac drugs. It also paved the way for them to develop techniques for the diagnosis of congenital heart diseases. 1895-10-30T00:00:00+0000Blalock was a surgeon who in 1944 helped to pioneer a new surgical procedure, known as subclavian-pulmonary artery anastomosis, for infants born with 'blue baby' syndrome (tetralogy of Fallot). Such babies have a hole in the wall between their heart's two major chambers (ventricles). Earlier in his career, Blalock demonstrated, with the help of his African-American laboratory assistant, Vivien Thomas, that surgical shock stems primarily from the loss of blood. This led to the use of plasma or whole-blood transfusions as treatment following the onset of shock. 1899-04-05T00:00:00+0000Forssmann was a surgeon who shared the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1956 for helping to develop a procedure that allows for cardiac catheterisation. He first tried out the technique on himself in 1929 by inserting a catheter into his vein and up to his heart after giving himself local anaesthesia. First used in patients in 1941, Forssmann's procedure has proved an invaluable tool in cardiovascular diagnosis and research. It also paved the way to the insertion of pacemakers, angioplasty, and valve repair. 1904-08-29T00:00:00+0000Furchgott was a biochemist. He is best known for having shown the signalling function of nitric oxide in the cardiovascular system. In 1966 he noticed a substance in cells on the interior surface of blood vessels were capable of relaxing the blood vessels. He called the substance endothelium-derived relaxing factor (EDRF). By 1986 he had worked out the function and mechanism of action of EDRF and found out that it was a nitric oxide. Awarded the Nobel Prize in 1998 on the back of this work, Furchgott's discoveries helped explained a wide variety of neuronal, cardiovascular and other physiological processes important to human health and disease.1916-06-04T00:00:00+0000Cooley was a pioneering American heart surgeon who helped the development of artificial heart valves in 1962, which dramatically reduced the mortality rate for heart valve transplant patients. He also pioneered delicate procedures to correct congenital heart defects in infants and children. In 1969 he became the first heart surgeon to implant a total artificial heart. Made of silicone, the mechanical heart served as a temporary bridge to keep a 47 year old patient, Haskell Karp, alive long enough to find a transplant donor. The artificial heart sustained Karp for 3 days. He subsequently died 32 hours after receiving a donated human heart. Sparking intensive research into the development of artificial hearts, Cooley's work opened up major debates about the harvesting and allocation of organs for transplants, a heated subject that continues to this day. 1920-08-22T00:00:00+0000Daly trained as a biochemist and was the first Black American woman to earn a doctorate in chemistry (from Columbia University, 1947). Her early research looked at the effects of cholesterol on the mechanisms of the heart, the effects sugars and other nutrients on the health of the arteries and the impact of advanced aged and hypertension on the circulatory system. This she did at Rockefeller Institute in New York. She subsequently joined Columbia University where she investigated how proteins are produced and organised in the cell. In addition to her scientific work, Daly was an ardent campaigner for getting minority students into medical school and graduate science programmes. 1921-04-16T00:00:00+0000Akutsu was a thoracic surgeon who is credited with the development of first artificial heart that was capable of keeping an animal alive. He created the device using a combination of a wax mould of blood pumps and electroplating it in acid copper solution and developing separate heart valves. The heart was implanted into a dog on 12 December 1957 and the animal remained alive for 90 minutes. Akutsu, then based at the University of Nagoya, built the device and implanted it into the dog in collaboration with Willem Kolff at Cleveland Clinic. The work paved the way to the development of artificial hearts for humans. 1922-08-20T00:00:00+0000Allbutt was an English physician who is renowned for inventing the short clinical thermometer. He introduced the instrument in 1866. It was a marked improvement on the previous foot-long thermometer which took 20 minutes to register a patient's temperature. In 1871 he introduced the use of the ophthalmoscope to inspect the interior of the eye. A few years later, in 1894, Allbutt determined that the painful heart condition angina pectoris stems from the aorta.1925-02-22T00:00:00+0000Murad is an Albanian-American physician and pharmacologist who shared the Nobel Prize in 1998 for helping to show that nitric oxide acts as a signalling molecule in the cardiovascular system. The identification of the biological role of nitric oxide was especially surprising because up to this moment it had been mostly known as a harmful air pollutant. Scientists were also struck by the discovery because nitric oxide is a simple molecule, unlike other neurotransmitters which have complex structures. Helping to reveal a totally new mechanism for how blood vessels in the body relax and widen, the discovery paved the way to development of the anti-impotence drug Viagra and potential new approaches for understanding and treating other diseases.1936-09-14T00:00:00+0000Jarvik is a medical scientist best known for having invented the first artificial heart used as a permanent replacement for a natural heart. The first person to receive the heart was Barney Clark, a retired dentist, who survived 112 days after the operation, performed in 1982. The second patient, William Schroeder, survived 620 days after being given the artificial heart. 1946-05-11T00:00:00+0000The surgery was performed on Henry Opticek, a 41-year-old male suffering from shortness of breath, by Forest D Dodrill at Harper University Hospital at Wayne State University in Michigan. Dodrill was able to keep the patient's left atrium open and repair the mitral valve by using mechanical pump which maintained the body's blood supply during the operation. Dodrill devised the pump with the help of researchers at General Motors. 1952-07-03T00:00:00+0000Blalock was an American surgeon who in 1944 helped to pioneer a new surgical procedure, known as subclavian-pulmonary artery anastomosis, for infants born with 'blue baby' syndrome (tetralogy of Fallot). Such babies have a hole in the wall between their heart's two major chambers (ventricles). Earlier in his career, Blalock demonstrated, with the help of his African-American laboratory assistant, Vivien Thomas, that surgical shock stems primarily from the loss of blood. This led to the use of plasma or whole-blood transfusions as treatment following the onset of shock.1964-09-15T00:00:00+0000An American physician and physiologist, Richards shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1956 for helping to develop cardiac catherisation. The technique involves the use of a flexible tube inserted at the elbow vein which is then pushed up to the heart. He developed the method at Bellevue Hospital in New York in collaboration with Andre Cournand. The technique enabled them to study and characterise traumatic shock and the physiology of heart failure as well as to evaluate the effects of cardiac drugs. It also paved the way for them to develop techniques for the diagnosis of congenital heart diseases.1973-02-23T00:00:00+0000Forssmann was a German surgeon who shared the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1956 for helping to develop a procedure that allows for cardiac catheterisation. He first tried out the technique on himself in 1929 by inserting a catheter into his vein and up to his heart after giving himself local anaesthesia. First used in patients in 1941, Forssmann's procedure has proved an invaluable tool in cardiovascular diagnosis and research. It also paved the way to the insertion of pacemakers, angioplasty, and valve repair.1979-06-01T00:00:00+0000Kavaler was an American physiologist at the State University of New York. He is renowned for pioneering cardiac electrophysiology techniques to investigate the mechanism behind the contraction of individual heart cells. Based on his study of frog heart muscle in the 1960s and 1970s, Kavaler showed that changes in calcium ion concentrations outside heart cells controlled heart contractions. This laid the foundation for the development of drugs to treat heart disease. 1998-01-04T00:00:00+0000The mechanical heart, known as AbioCor, was transplanted into a 59 year old diabetic middle-aged man, Robert Tools, at the Jewish Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. Tools was the first of five patients in a clinical trial. Tools lived for 151 days after the transplant. AbioCor was the first artificial device to closely mimic the heart. It was developed by David Lederman and colleagues at AbioMed, a Massachusetts-based company using advances in miniaturisation, biosensors, plastics and energy transfer. A total of 15 patients received the heart before its development was abandoned due to insufficient evidence of efficacy. 2001-07-02T00:00:00+0000Daly trained as a biochemist and was the first Black American woman to earn a doctorate in chemistry (from Columbia University, 1947). Her early research looked at the effects of cholesterol on the mechanisms of the heart, the effects sugars and other nutrients on the health of the arteries and the impact of advanced aged and hypertension on the circulatory system. This she did at Rockefeller Institute in New York. She subsequently joined Columbia University where she investigated how proteins are produced and organised in the cell. In addition to her scientific work, Daly was an ardent campaigner for getting minority students into medical school and graduate science programmes.2003-10-28T00:00:00+0000Akutsu was a Japanese thoracic surgeon who is credited with the development of first artificial heart that was capable of keeping an animal alive. He created the device using a combination of a wax mould of blood pumps and electroplating it in acid copper solution and developing separate heart valves. The heart was implanted into a dog on 12 December 1957 and the animal remained alive for 90 minutes. Akutsu, then based at the University of Nagoya, built the device and implanted it into the dog in collaboration with Willem Kolff at Cleveland Clinic. The work paved the way to the development of artificial hearts for humans. 2007-08-09T00:00:00+0000Furchgott was an American biochemist. He is best known for having shown the signalling function of nitric oxide in the cardiovascular system. In 1966 he noticed a substance in cells on the interior surface of blood vessels were capable of relaxing the blood vessels. He called the substance endothelium-derived relaxing factor (EDRF). By 1986 he had worked out the function and mechanism of action of EDRF and found out that it was a nitric oxide. Awarded the Nobel Prize in 1998 on the back of this work, Furchgott's discoveries helped explained a wide variety of neuronal, cardiovascular and other physiological processes important to human health and disease. 2009-05-19T00:00:00+0000Cooley was a pioneering American heart surgeon who helped the development of artificial heart valves in 1962, which dramatically reduced the mortality rate for heart valve transplant patients. He also pioneered delicate procedures to correct congenital heart defects in infants and children. In 1969 he became the first heart surgeon to implant a total artificial heart. Made of silicone, the mechanical heart served as a temporary bridge to keep a 47 year old patient, Haskell Karp, alive long enough to find a transplant donor. The artificial heart sustained Karp for 3 days. He subsequently died 32 hours after receiving a donated human heart. Sparking intensive research into the development of artificial hearts, Cooley's work opened up major debates about the harvesting and allocation of organs for transplants, a heated subject that continues to this day. 2016-11-18T00:00:00+0000Evidence collected from randomised, doublice-blind, placebo controled study of 27,000 patients in 49 countries between Feb 2013 and June 2015. MS Sabatine, et al, 'Evolocumab and Clinical Outcomes in Patients with Cardiovascular Disease', NEJM, 2017, DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1615664.2017-03-17T00:00:00+0000M. Hong, N. Marti-Gutierrez, S-W Park, et al, 'Correction of a pathogenic gene mutation in human embryos', Nature, doi:10.1038/nature233052017-08-02T00:00:00+0000
Date Event People Places
1 Apr 1578William Harvey was born in Folkestone, United KingdomHarvey 
3 Jun 1657William Harvey diedHarvey 
17 Mar 1741William Withering born in Wellington, Shropshire, United KingdomWithering 
6 Oct 1799William Withering diedWithering 
20 Jul 1836Thomas Clifford Allbutt was born in Dewsbury, Yorkshire, UKAllbuttUniversity of Cambridge
30 Oct 1895Dickinson W Richards, Jr, was born in Orange, New Jersey, USADickinson RichardsBellevue Hospital
5 Apr 1899Alfred Blalock was born in Culloden, Georgia, USABlalock Vanderbilt University, Johns Hopkins University
29 Aug 1904Werner Forssmann was born in Berlin, GermanyForssmann 
4 Jun 1916Robert F Furchgott was born in Charleston, SC, USAFurchgottState University of New York
22 Aug 1920Denton A Cooley was born in Houston, Texas, USACooleyTexas Heart Institute
16 Apr 1921Marie M Daly was born in Corona, Queens, NY, USAMary DalyRockefeller Institute, Columbia University
20 Aug 1922Tetsuzo Akutsu was born in JapanTetsuzoUniversity of Nagoya, Cleveland Clinic, University of Missisippi, Texas Heart Institute, Kanazawa Medical College, Tokyo Medical and Dental University
22 Feb 1925Thomas Clifford Allbutt diedAllbuttUniversity of Cambridge
14 Sep 1936Ferid Murad was born in Whiting, Indiana, USAMuratUniversity of Virginia
11 May 1946Robert Koffler Jarvik was born in Midland, Michigan, USAJarvikMidland, Michigan
3 Jul 1952First successful open heart surgery performedDodrill, OpticekWayne State University
15 Sep 1964Alfred Blalock diedBlalockVanderbilt University, Johns Hopkins University
23 Feb 1973Dickinson W Richards diedDickinson RichardsBellevue Hospital
1 Jun 1979Werner Forssmann diedForssmann 
4 Jan 1998Frederic Kavaler diedKavalerState University of New York
2 Jul 2001First self-contained mechanical heart successfully implanted into a humanLederman, ToolsJewish Hospital in Louisville, Abiomed
28 Oct 2003Marie M Daly diedMary DalyRockefeller Institute, Columbia University
9 Aug 2007Akutsu Tetsuzo diedTetsuzoUniversity of Nagoya, Cleveland Clinic, University of Missisippi, Texas Heart Institute, Kanazawa Medical College, Tokyo Medical and Dental University
19 May 2009Robert F Furchgott diedFurchgottState University of New York
18 Nov 2016Denton A Cooley diedCooleyTexas Heart Institute
17 Mar 2017Monoclonal antibody shown to effectively cut cholesterol levels, thereby preventing heart attacks and strokesSabatine
2 Aug 2017Research published demonstrating possibility of editing gene defect in pre-implanted human embryos for preventing inherited heart diseaseHong, Marti-Gutierrez, Park, Mitalipov, Kaul, Kim, Amato, BelmonteOregon Health & Science University, Salk Institute, Center for Genome Engineering, Seoul National University, China National GeneBank,

1 Apr 1578

William Harvey was born in Folkestone, United Kingdom

3 Jun 1657

William Harvey died

17 Mar 1741

William Withering born in Wellington, Shropshire, United Kingdom

6 Oct 1799

William Withering died

20 Jul 1836

Thomas Clifford Allbutt was born in Dewsbury, Yorkshire, UK

30 Oct 1895

Dickinson W Richards, Jr, was born in Orange, New Jersey, USA

5 Apr 1899

Alfred Blalock was born in Culloden, Georgia, USA

29 Aug 1904

Werner Forssmann was born in Berlin, Germany

4 Jun 1916

Robert F Furchgott was born in Charleston, SC, USA

22 Aug 1920

Denton A Cooley was born in Houston, Texas, USA

16 Apr 1921

Marie M Daly was born in Corona, Queens, NY, USA

20 Aug 1922

Tetsuzo Akutsu was born in Japan

22 Feb 1925

Thomas Clifford Allbutt died

14 Sep 1936

Ferid Murad was born in Whiting, Indiana, USA

11 May 1946

Robert Koffler Jarvik was born in Midland, Michigan, USA

3 Jul 1952

First successful open heart surgery performed

15 Sep 1964

Alfred Blalock died

23 Feb 1973

Dickinson W Richards died

1 Jun 1979

Werner Forssmann died

4 Jan 1998

Frederic Kavaler died

2 Jul 2001

First self-contained mechanical heart successfully implanted into a human

28 Oct 2003

Marie M Daly died

9 Aug 2007

Akutsu Tetsuzo died

19 May 2009

Robert F Furchgott died

18 Nov 2016

Denton A Cooley died

17 Mar 2017

Monoclonal antibody shown to effectively cut cholesterol levels, thereby preventing heart attacks and strokes

2 Aug 2017

Research published demonstrating possibility of editing gene defect in pre-implanted human embryos for preventing inherited heart disease

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