William Harvey

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William Harvey

William Harvey was an English medical doctor. He was born in Folkestone, Kent, England on 1 April 1573. He was the first to explain how blood was moved through the body by the heart. He died on 3 June 1657 in Roehampton.

William Harvey is famous for his idea on blood being pumped around the body by the heart. Christianismi Restitutio had found out how the circulatory system worked, but his work at the time was lost. Harvey found Restitutio's work a century later. Harvey travelled all over Europe doing research. Most of his research was done in Italy where he went to the Venerable English College in Rome.

A hospital in Ashford, Kent is named after him. He went to The King's School, Canterbury, then Ganville and Caius College, Cambridge. He then went to University of Padua where he graduated in 1602.

When he returned to England he married Elizabeth Browne, the daughter of Elizabeth I's royal physician. He became a doctor at St. Bartholomew's Hospital in London from 1609 until 1643.

Circulatory System[change | edit source]

Harvey announced his discoveries about the circulatory system in 1616. He wrote a book (Exercitatio Anatomica de Motu Cordis et sanguinis in Animalibuson) about it in 1628. He said that blood was pumped around the body in a closed system. Blood was pumped by the heart through the body before coming back to the heart to repeat the process. This went against what was believed at the time to be true. William Harvey was an English physician who was the first to describe correctly and in detail the circulation and properties

The Roman doctor, Galen believed that there were two systems in the body dealing with blood. It was thought at the time that the dark red blood in veins came from the liver and the bright red blood in arteries came from the heart. It was believed that the liver and heart made the blood and it was used up by the body parts it was pumped to.

Harvey's ideas came from dissecting human bodies. Harvey found that the liver would have to make 540 pounds of blood every hour for Galen to be right. This showed him that the blood was not being used up. It was being reused by the body. He said blood flowed through the heart in two loops. One loop went to the lungs and got oxygen. The other loop went to the organs and body tissue giving them the oxygen. He said the heart was just a pump that pumped blood around the body.

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