Calling the heart by name: distinguished eponyms in the history of cardiac anatomy

Andrea A Conti
Heart Surgery Forum 2011, 14 (3): E183-7
Many outstanding scientists have given their names to anatomic structures through time. Recently the use of eponyms has been at the center of a very interesting debate in the columns of prestigious medical journals. Even if some authors have questioned their adoption, not only do the names of great figures in the history of medicine appear inextricably linked to human body structures but they also have been widely adopted. Eponyms enliven medical study and practice by representing major mnemonic aids for students and learners and opening intriguing scenarios on the history of health. Given that physicians frequently are unaware of exactly "who stands behind" a name, this article presents a reconstruction of how eponyms for cardiac structures have developed through time and provides scientific profiles of the personages after whom heart districts have been named. The article is offered in the awareness that scientists of different countries and different ages have contributed to the elaboration of the knowledge of cardiac anatomy, according to their personal skills and to the health technology available in their particular times and places.

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