Who is William Harvey?June 26, 2021
William Harvey, who lived from April 1, 1578 to June 3, 1657, was an English medical doctor, scientist, and thinker who was among the pioneers of science. William Harvey is one of the pioneers of the scientific world, especially with his studies on blood circulation and his discoveries on the functions of the heart. William Harvey is also considered one of the founders of modern physiology.
Who is William Harvey?
William Harvey was born in Folkestone, England. Harvey completed his school life at Caius College in Cambridge and the medical school in Padova and began serving science as a medical doctor.
After Harvey’s education, he went to St. He started to work as a medical doctor in the Bartholomew Hospital and also gave medicine lessons to people who were trained and worked in this hospital. Harvey, who also served as the personal physician of former English kings James I and Charles I, died on June 3, 1657, after a stroke.
William Harvey is known as the first person to accurately describe the circulation of blood starting from the heart. Although blood circulation was described much earlier by the Spanish Doctor Michael Servetus, the discovery of blood circulation is attributed to Harvey, since William Harvey was the first to reveal this structure with permanent explanations and texts.
William Harvey and the Circulation
Harvey, who described and revealed the blood circulation in his 72-page work titled “Exercitatio Anatomica De Motu Cordis Et Sanguinis In Animalibus” published in Frankfurt in 1628, after many years of research, sees the heart as a muscular pump and describes the movement of the heart as follows:
First, the auricula contracts and during this time, blood is thrown into the ventricle. When this place is filled, the heart expands, after an upward movement, its fibers are stretched and a beat occurs with the contraction of the ventricles. Thus, the blood from the auricules is immediately thrown into the arteries; the right ventricular pulse is sent to the lung through a vehicle called the vena arteriosa, which is an artery in structure and function, and from there it passes into the left ventricle via the left auricula; sends the left ventricular pulse to the aorta. From here, it spreads to the whole body with arteries and returns to the heart via veins. All these events are repeated over and over in order. Thus, the pulsation of the arteries consists of the impulse of the blood sent from the heart.
Harvey conducted experiments with 80 different species of animals to obtain this conclusion.
It was his teacher Acquapendenteli Girolama Fabricio (1537-1619) in Padova who prompted him to work on the direction of circulation and was the first to describe venous valves. However, Harvey embarked on a series of studies, as it seemed unreasonable to Harvey for his teacher to see these as obstacles to slowing the circulation of venous circulation from the proximal to the periphery.
Harvey observed that when he ligated the proximal part of the vein, the distal part swelled. As a result, he suggested that the venous valves are structures that direct the circulation towards the heart and prevent the reverse direction. Thus, Harvey became the first physician to observe and best explain the movements of the blood circulation and heart.
The image below shows stamps issued to Harvey’s name by the British and Hungarian governments and the personal stamp of Harvey’s teacher, Acquapendenteli Girolama Fabricio:
Source: Prof. Dr. Teoman ONAT