The first human blood transfusion.


INTRODUCTION THE OLD concept of the movement of blood, based upon the teaching of Galen, was that it was constantly formed in the liver, passed to the heart, and from thence by means of the arteries and veins to the tissues where it was burned up, as wood is consumed by fire.l In such a beliefthere was no logical reason to propose a transfusion ofblood for purposes either of restoring "diseased" blood or ofreplacing blood lost by haemorrhage, and it was not until Harvey's discovery of the continuous circulation of blood around the body (first announced in 16162 and formally published in 16283) that such a procedure suggested itself with any force. Then, as Sir Geoffrey Keynes has pointed out, "There were several phases to be gone through: (1) The formulation in men's minds of the idea of introducing other fluids and drugs in solution into the circulation of an animal; (2) The extension of the idea to include the introduction of blood; (3) The preliminary experiments on the circulating blood of animals; (4) The application of the results to the therapeutic use of blood transfusion in man."4 The first authenticated successful intravenous infusions into living bodies were carried out by the astronomer, and subsequently architect, Dr. (later Sir Christopher) Wren who in a series ofexperiments5 dating from 1657 injected a number of fluids into the veins of animals so that "By this Operation divers Creatures were immediately purg'd, vomited, intoxicated, kill'd, or reviv'd, according to the quality of the Liquor injected: Hence arose many new Experiments, and chiefly that of Transfusing Blood". 6 The transfusion of blood from one animal to another was first undertaken for the Royal Society7 during 1665, when dogs were the principal experimental animals,8 and

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@article{Farr1980TheFH, title={The first human blood transfusion.}, author={Andrew D Farr}, journal={Medical History}, year={1980}, volume={24}, pages={143 - 162} }