The story told in this book begins in about 1700, when the first attempts were made to study the diseased heart in life (the subject matter of cardiology), as distinct from its appearance after death; it ends, rather arbitrarily, in 1970.
The account of the development of knowledge of heart disease is mainly chronological with emphasis on the fruitful consequences of the cross-fertilization of clinical practice with pathological anatomy at the beginning of the nineteenth century and with physiology at the end.
In addition, shorter chapters deals with such topics as specific disease entities, methods of investigation, cardiac surgery and the work of two individuals - Peter Latham, an example of a physician practising with today's clinical skills but a very imperfect knowledge of the pathogenesis of heart disease and Etienne Marey, an early exponent of the clinical physiology which would, in time, throw light on that pathogenesis.
Dr Peter Fleming was a consultant cardiologist for many years, and in addition, had an interest in methods of assessment in medical education. He was among the first to obtain the Diploma in the History of Medicine of the Society of Apothecaries and has lectured on the history of cardiology on many occasions.
"…absorbing… Dr. Fleming, himself a distinguished cardiologist, has told his story with authority and style, and has brought the protagonists, the great, the good and the foolish, deftly to life." - in: London Review of Books "well-written … contains hundreds of well-chosen references to the primary literature. Between text and notes, I think it is the best available road map to the nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century literature on heart disease. … Fleming’s very readable book is a useful guide to the history of heart disease." - in: Bulletin of the History of Medicine, Vol. 72, Issue 2 (1998)
1 Clinical Discipline Emerges: 1680-1760
2 Ffelenge the Powllse
3 The Causes of Heart Disease Become Clearer: 1760-1819
4 Congenital Heart Disease
5 Ischaemic Heart Disease: The First Phase
6 Rheumatic Heart Disease
7 Physical Signs and Physiology: 1819-1860
9 ‘Heart' Latham
10 The Beginnings of Clinical Science: 1860-1900
11 Etienne Jules Marey
12 Infective Endocarditis
13 The Arrival of the New Cardiology: 1900-1940
14 Ischaemic Heart Disease: Prelude to an Epidemic
15 Hypertensive Heart Disease
16 The End of Therapeutic Nihilism: 1940-1970
17 The Investigation of Heart Disease
18 Cardiac Surgery