From Delirium Cordis to Atrial Fibrillation: Historical Development of a Disease Concept

  title={From Delirium Cordis to Atrial Fibrillation: Historical Development of a Disease Concept},
  author={K Flegel},
  journal={Annals of Internal Medicine},
  • K. Flegel
  • Published 1 June 1995
  • Medicine
  • Annals of Internal Medicine
Atrial fibrillation, the most prevalent of the sustained cardiac dysrhythmias [1-3], depends solely on functional abnormality for its conceptual definition [4]. The failure to identify a structural abnormality to explain the irregular pulse delayed the recognition of its cause until electricity, and the cardiovascular technology made possible by it, revealed the electrical basis of atrial fibrillation. Thereafter, a debate commenced over whether atrial fibrillation was sustained by an abnormal… 

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This article aims at walking through the historical "corridors" and "mazes" that led to the present day understanding of this common yet complex arrhythmia, and hopes to eliminate the ‘‘excitable gap’’ in knowledge, leading to the “cure” of AF.

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Controversies in atrial fibrillation



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The arterial pulse was often regarded as independent of the heart beat but de Senac's ideas were a century and a half ahead of his time.

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  • D. Scherf
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