Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

The Cyclopaedia of Anatomy and Physiology, vol. 2: Dia-Ins
Todd, Robert Bentley
ferior animals, Mammalia, as well as birds, 
reptiles, and fishes* 
States of the blood in the heart after death.— 
M hat appears to be the natural state of the 
contents of the heart after death is as follows. 
The right auricle contains a coagulum of dark 
blood, and the right ventricle contains a similar 
one, of less size ; a very small quantity of coa¬ 
gulum cr of fluid blood is found in the left 
cavities, and it is not uncommon to find a coa¬ 
gulum extending into the aorta ; white coagula 
are often found in these cavities. Sometimes 
these coagula, especially at the right side, 
adhere closely to the wall of the cavity in which 
they are situated, and appear as it were 
moulded upon it, sinking into the interstices 
between the fleshy columns, so as to render it 
difficult to remove them. The modification 
which we most frequently meet with in this 
state of the heart’s contents, is that in cases of 
asphyxia; affording, however, merely an in¬ 
stance of aggravation, if I may so speak, of the 
natural state ; the right cavities and the vessels 
leading to and from them are gorged with dark 
blood, liquid or coagulated, while the left cavi¬ 
ties are nearly empty. Such states of the 
heart’s cavities, it is obvious, are formed in 
articulo mortis. Fibrinous masses, either mixed 
with or deprived of the colouring matter of the 
blood, have been many times found, which it 
cannot be doubted were formed in the heart some 
time prior to death, and probably gave rise to 
symptoms of a serious nature; these are the 
true polypous concretions of the heart. The 
manner in which Mr. Allan Burns, one of our 
earliest British writers on the heart, explains 
the formation of some of these concretions, is 
deserving of attention. “ If,” he says, “ we 
strictly scrutinize all the reputed cases of poly¬ 
pus in the heart, we shall reduce the real ex¬ 
amples of this affection to a very limited num¬ 
ber indeed. Still we shall leave a few, where 
there is reason to believe that the concretion 
had been formed a very considerable time be¬ 
fore death : but it must be understood, that 
these concretions are seldom found except in 
hearts otherwise diseased. In health, the blood 
does not tarry for any length of time in either 
the heart or vessels ; it is incessantly in motion, 
circulating with greater or less rapidity, accord¬ 
ing to the state of the heart and arteries. The 
blood never in health remains so long in con¬ 
tact with the surfaces of the heart, as to allow 
of its being changed by their action. In some 
diseases of this organ, irregular actions are ex¬ 
cited by very trifling causes ; the blood stag¬ 
nates longer in the heart than it usually does or 
ought to do, while here it undergoes changes 
by the reciprocal action of the blood on the 
heart and the heart on the blood ; new organized 
matter is deposited, and adheres to the parietes 
of the cavity in which it is lodged. This con¬ 
cretion slowly increases, the first particle acting 
as the exciting cause for the deposition of the 
second, and so on.” 
The strongest evidence of the formation of 
* For a list of the references to such cases, see 
South’s edit, of Otto, Path. Anat. p. 293. 
such coagula some time before death consists 
in their being organised : in a case recorded by 
the writer from whom the preceding passage 
was quoted, a large and fully organised polypus 
was found in the right auricle ; its attachment 
was by a rough surface to the musculi pectinati, 
and its body hung down into the right ventricle. 
It very much resembled a nasal polypus, and 
it was so firmly fixed to the heart, that it allow¬ 
ed the whole mass of the heart and a consider¬ 
able portion of the lungs to be suspended by it, 
without showing any tendency to separate. It 
was pendulous and tapered from below up¬ 
ward; its structure was dense and lamellated, 
and not a single red globule entered into its 
composition.” In this case, as in other similar 
ones quoted by Andral, the adhesion of the po¬ 
lypus seemed due to an inflammation of the 
endocardium, either excited by the contact, or 
before the formation of the coagulum. That 
such coagula may be permeated by bloodves¬ 
sels is proved by the cases of Bouillaud and 
Rigacci, quoted by Andral : in the latter cases, 
these reddish filaments passed from thecolumnæ 
carneæ and entered the substance of the poly¬ 
pous mass : they had all the appearance of 
bloodvessels, and when injected with mercury 
were found to divide into a number of small 
branches that ramified through the substance of 
the polypus. By careful dissection it was as¬ 
certained that the tumour was formed altogether 
of a mass of fibrine, such as is found in the sac 
of arterial aneurisms Pus is occasionally found 
in the centre of these fibrinous concretions, but 
whether carried to the heart in the blood, and 
accidentally enclosed in the coagulum during 
its solidification, or formed in the coagulum by 
some action within it, it is impossible to decide. 
Osseous and cartilaginous deposits too have been 
found in them, as in the case from Burns, in 
which one of these polypi was ossified in several 
points, and so perfectly organized that on inflat¬ 
ing the coronary vein, a number of minute ves¬ 
sels on the surface and in the substance of the 
tumour became distended with air. 
(R. B. Todd.) 
HEAT, ANIMAL.—Judging merely by 
our sensations, we should infallibly conclude 
that our bodies undergo very considerable 
changes of temperature. This belief was in¬ 
deed necessarily entertained previously to the 
time when natural philosophy had discovered 
a means of ascertaining the true state of the 
matter. The application of the thermometer 
has dissipated the error. But then error of an 
opposite kind was run into, and the results of 
a very limited number of observations led men 
to conclude that the temperature of the human 
body was invariable or nearly so. Still the 
measures of temperature given by different ob¬ 
servers did not perfectly accord, though each 
presented his conclusions as the temperature 
of the race. It was but reasonable to imagine 
that these discrepancies arose not from any want 
of accuracy in observation, but from diversities 
inherent in the subjects observed. This is 
now known to be the case. But though proofs 
of this truth have been greatly multiplied, the


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