In Circulation

On April 1, 1578, English physician William Harvey was born. He was the first in the Western world to correctly describe the continuous circulation of blood flow in the human body. Harvey detailed the movement of blood from right to left ventricle via the lungs’ pulmonary artery and pulmonary vein and the pumping of blood from the left ventricle throughout the body. With simple experimentation, repetition, and observation, Harvey established the facts that arteries always carried blood away from the heart and veins always flowed toward the heart thanks to the work of venous valves.

Harvey’s theory that the heart functioned as the body’s blood pump went against the prevailing theory of his day that blood flow was created by sucking actions of liver and heart together. Many of his peers found his conclusions too radical and he was forced to defend his work many times. Eventually, Harvey’s vision and supporting research were accepted and did much to encourage following generations of doctors and researchers in their investigations of anatomy.

Figures 1 and 2 from Exercitatio Anatomica de Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus

Bright and interested gloves point out features in
Harvey’s An Anatomical Exercise on the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Living Beings


B Bondar / Real World Content Advantage


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