Image from page 272 of “The New England journal of medicine” (1828)

Image from page 272 of "The New England journal of medicine" (1828)
Heart Disease
Identifier: newenglandjourna148mass
Title: The New England journal of medicine
Year: 1828 (1820s)
Authors: Massachusetts Medical Society New England Surgical Society
Subjects: Medicine Surgery Medicine (General) Periodicals
Publisher: Boston
Contributing Library: Gerstein - University of Toronto
Digitizing Sponsor: University of Toronto

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ent of instrumental aidsto exactness, and the art of medicine consequentljhas always adopted them with considerable reluct-ance. Take for example the two instruments uporwhich we place today our chief reliance for obtaininoordinary routine|clinical data—the thermometer andthe watch. Although the former instrument datesback to the time of Galileo, and was used by him asa means of estimating body temperature, the neces-sity of thermometric observations in disease had nowidespread clinical recognition until after the publi-cation of Wunderlichs classical monograph in 1868.Today one wishes to know, not as in pre-Boerhaav-ian times solely by manual palpation that there is amore or less evident pyrexia, but the degrees orfractions of degrees of variation, which our instru-ment of precision alone can supply. Galileo, also, > Read by invitation at the Boston Medical Library, Jan. 19,1903, VOL. CXLVIir, No. 10] BOSTON MEDICAL AND SURGICAL JOURNAL 251 Ki.ooi) IljKssuui; in£m.m. uv mkkcuim

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252 BOSTON MEDICAL AND SURGICAL JOURNAL [March 5, 1903 by shortening or lengthening the arm of a penduhimuntil it would oscillate synchronously with the pulse-rate, learned to speak with some accuracy of a 10-inch or a 12-inch pulse, and an English physi-cian, Sir John Floyer, in 1710, had constructed forhimself a chronometer with a second hand, his pulse-watch ; but not until long afterward did therate of the heart-beat come to be universally regis-tered with some numerical definiteness instead ofbeing spoken of merely as relatively rapid or slow. At the present time, largely owing to theconvenience of our timepieces, pulse-rate is com-monly recorded alongside of the temperature andperhaps of the respiration on our clinical charts, tothe utter neglect of a numerical record of that vascu-lar quality which in many conditions is incompar-ably of greater clinical consequence, namely, arterialtension. The familiar query is raised. Are we not surfeitedwith instruments of accuracy in clinic

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