Ancient non-medical texts can unexpectedly provide useful information on the development of knowledge about the heart and its diseases throughout history. The 750th anniversary of the birth of the Italian poet Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) provides a timely opportunity to analyze medical references in his works, in particular, focusing on literary descriptions that may be attributed to cardiovascular disorders. Dante's high level of medical knowledge, probably derived from his academic studies, is testified by his affiliation to the Florentine Guild of physicians and pharmacists. In all his works, the poet shows a deep interest for the heart. However, his anatomical and physiological knowledge of the circulatory system appears to be poor, probably due to it being based on theories and concepts brought forth by Aristotle and Galen, which were taught in medieval universities. Despite this, accurate descriptions of some symptoms (emotional syncope, orthopnea, dyspnea on exertion) and signs (ascites, paleness), which may be attributed to cardiovascular disorders, can be easily found in Dante's works, particularly in his masterpiece, the Divine Comedy. The literary and historical analysis of cardiovascular signs and symptoms allows us to assume that clinical features due to alterations of heart function were probably known by medieval physicians, but their etiology and pathophysiological mechanisms were not completely understood in that period. Historians of cardiology and clinicians should consider analysis of non-medical texts (including poetry) as an opportunity to better investigate the evolution of their discipline throughout the ages.
Riva, M., Cambioli, L., Castagna, F., Cianci, N., Varrenti, M., Giannattasio, C., et al. (2015). Dante and cardiology: Physiopathology and clinical features of cardiovascular diseases in the Middle Ages. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF CARDIOLOGY, 181, 317-319.
|Citazione:||Riva, M., Cambioli, L., Castagna, F., Cianci, N., Varrenti, M., Giannattasio, C., et al. (2015). Dante and cardiology: Physiopathology and clinical features of cardiovascular diseases in the Middle Ages. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF CARDIOLOGY, 181, 317-319.|
|Tipo:||Articolo in rivista - Articolo scientifico|
|Carattere della pubblicazione:||Scientifica|
|Presenza di un coautore afferente ad Istituzioni straniere:||Si|
|Titolo:||Dante and cardiology: Physiopathology and clinical features of cardiovascular diseases in the Middle Ages|
|Autori:||Riva, M; Cambioli, L; Castagna, F; Cianci, N; Varrenti, M; Giannattasio, C; Cesana, G|
RIVA, MICHELE AUGUSTO (Corresponding)
|Data di pubblicazione:||2015|
|Rivista:||INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF CARDIOLOGY|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijcard.2014.11.225|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01 - Articolo su rivista|