The Irritable Heart of Soldiers and the Origins of Anglo-American Cardiology : The US Civil War (1861) to World War I (1918) book cover
1st Edition

The Irritable Heart of Soldiers and the Origins of Anglo-American Cardiology
The US Civil War (1861) to World War I (1918)

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ISBN 9780754605959
Published September 28, 2002 by Routledge
338 Pages

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Book Description

It may seem paradoxical that the American Civil War and World War I, both of which witnessed slaughter on a previously unimaginable scale, should provoke such intense interest in soldiers' hearts. Yet, during and between these wars there was much discussion of a condition which incapacitated many thousands of otherwise healthy troops. This condition, characterised by chest pains, palpitations, breathlessness, fatigue, syncope and exercise intolerance, became known during 1860s as the irritable heart of soldiers. By the First World War the terminology had changed to soldier's heart, then to neurocirculatory asthenia. In this study, the author brings to bear his expertise as a historian, professor of medicine and a former soldier to analyse the condition and to trace the changing medical and social attitudes to it. By viewing the condition through the dual lenses of history and modern medical knowledge, this work provides a unique perspective on one of the pioneering areas of Anglo-American cardiology.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction: from irritable heart to soldier’s heart; The United States Civil War: Da Costa at Turner’s Lane; Medical disorders, diseases, statistics and pensions: Civil War; The 19th-century British soldier, Maclean and Netley; Symptoms and patient histories: functional versus organic heart disease; Diagnosis in the 19th century; Pulse and pressure, inventions and instruments, measurements and records; A new clinical currency: technology, laboratories and books; Mind and body, brain and heart; World War I: Mackenzie and Osler; The military heart hospitals: Thomas Lewis; Minority opinions from the military heart hospitals: Clifford Allbutt; Samuel Levine and neurocirculatory asthenia; Lewis Conner and the examination of 4 million men; Anglo-American cardiology; Where are the diseases of yesteryear?; Bibliography; Index.

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'... a fascinating medical journey back and forth across the Atlantic Ocean... Wooley has provided an excellent framework...' The New England Journal of Medicine '... a fascinating composite of political, scientific, and personal narratives.' 'This well researched work comes from the pen of a skilled physician, a meticulous historian and a soldier... highly recommended.' Journal of Medical Biography '... concise and very informative... It is a fascinating tale, and the book ties together all of the developments of Anglo-American cardiology in an excellent package that is quite digestible thanks to its size and its thread of interconnected collaborations and rivalries. This is a very good summary of the diagnostic techniques available to clinicians in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.' Isis