Volltext: The Works of Robert Whytt

nerves. Hence the blood, which we have fliewn to be qualified 
for gently irritating the fenfible membranes of the cavities of the 
heart, mult, by its being thrown into them with a confiderable 
force, adl with fo much the greater energy. But further, as by 
the blood rufhing impetuoufiy into the auricles and ventricles of the 
heart, thefe cavities are dilated beyond their natural capacity, fo 
the extenfion wdiich their fibres fuffer on this occafion will pro¬ 
duce fome fort of irritation, and thus prove a fiimulus to their fub- 
fequent contraction Agreeably to this, Wepferus has obferved, 
that after one vermicular contraction of the flomach, another does 
not fucceed, till that organ begins to fwell in its middle part, by 
the rarified air contained in it or generated by the diffolving ali¬ 
ments : But this diftenfion of the flomach no fooner happens, than 
a new contradlion of it begins, which proceeding on towards the 
pylorus, pufhes part of that air and of the digefled aliment into 
the duodenum ; after which this orifice collapfes, and a new intu- 
mefcence of the flomach enfues f. Hence it appears how great an 
analogy there is between the caufes of the alternate contraction of 
the heart and flomach ; both being excited, partly by the irrita¬ 
tion of their fibres by a diflending caufe, and partly by the irrita¬ 
tion of their nerves by a flimulating one. In like manner the con¬ 
traction of the bladder of urine, and the defire of evacuating this 
fluid, is not only owing to its acrimony flimulating the nerves of 
the bladder, but alfo to its quantity overfiretching its coats, and 
irritating its fibres. 
Upon the whole, from what has been faid, it may appear, that 
as the violent motion of the fluids, and uncommon contractions 
of the heart and arteries in the fmall pox, meafles, and other dif- 
* It here defèrves notice, that while the ventricles of the heart are extended much beyond 
their natural fize, by the force of the refluent venous blood, the tendineo-carnous chords run¬ 
ning from one fide of the ventricles to the other (a), will be confiderably ftretched : this ought 
to produce an irritation in thefe parts, and confequentJy contribute towards exciting the fuc- 
ceeding fyßoie of the heart, 
f Wepferus de cicut. aquat. p. 177. 
(a) Vtd. Cowper’s Myotom. reformat, tab. 39. let, h, et tab. 40. let,/, alfo Senac. Traité 
du coeur, vol. i.


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