Tuesday, November 13, 2012

History of atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis is an ‘ancient disease’ beginning with its characterization in medical works of ancient Egyptians, Greek and Romans.

The word atherosclerosis is derived from the Greek meaning both softening (athere) and hardening (skleros) and refers to a complex disease process affecting the major blood vessels of the body.

Using sophisticated histologic techniques, paleopathologist A. T. Sandison confirmed that some Egyptian mummies had evidence of atherosclerosis.

Roman Emperor Hadrian (76-138) according to accounts by classical historian Dio Cassius, died for congestive heart failure secondary to hypertension and coronary atherosclerosis.

Galen, the most influential physician of ancient Greece, described vascular aneurysm, but there is no evidence that he recognized other forms of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.

Several sixteenth century anatomists, including Andreas Vesalius and Gabriele Fallopious, described aneurysms of the aorta and peripheral arteries.

Carl von Rokitansky, a famous pathologists postulate that atheroma was due to slow deposition of small thrombi at focal points on the arterial intima with subsequent organization into the wall of the artery. He publicized his theory in 1841.

In the 1856 German pathologist Rudolf Virchow proposed that atherosclerosis is caused when plasma components elicit an inflammatory response in the arterial wall.

In 1953, Lober provided the earliest provocative proof that diet could cause coronary artery disease.

In 1973, Earl Benditt produced evidence that the muscle cells in atheroma were monoclonal and were derived from a very small number of precursors.
History of atherosclerosis
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