The "gap" between bench and bedside: widening or narrowing?
- Arnold M Katz
- Journal of cardiac failure
The inauguration of a new journal provides a unique opportunity to look back on the way that we arrived at our present state of understanding. In the case of heart failure, it is possible to trace a remarkable history that, for Western medicine, extends back to clinical descriptions collected in works attributed to Hippocrates in ancient Greece. Since the fifth century BCE, physicians and scientists have approached this clinical syndrome in at least 9 different ways (Table). The increasing rapidity with which these views have changed illustrates how new knowledge has narrowed the gap between clinical medicine and basic science.1 The present article describes how our understanding of heart failure has evolved over the past 2500 years. Having been active in this area since the 1950s and having shared many reminiscences with my father, Louis N. Katz, who played an active role in academic cardiology between the 1920s and 1970s, I have included several personal insights about progress since the beginning of the 20th century.