Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Blood circulation discovery by Ibnu Nafis

Ibnu Nafis perhaps one of the greatest cardiologists of the Arab-Islamic civilization and pre-modern time.

Ala-al-Din Abu al-Hasan Ali Ibn Abi al-Hazm al-Qarshi al-Dimashqi (known as Ibn Al-Nafis) was born in 1213 A.D. in a small town near Damascus. He was educated at the Medical College Hospital (Bimaristan Al-Noori) founded by Noor al-Din Al-Zanki.

Apart from medicine, Ibn al-Nafis learned jurisprudence, literature and theology. He thus became a renowned expert on the Shafi'i School of Jurisprudence as well as a reputed physician.

In 1236 Ibn Nafis moved to Egypt and worked in Al-Nassri Hospital then in Al-Mansouri Hospital where he became chief of physicians and the Sultan’s personal physician. When he died in 1288 A.D. he donated his house, library and clinic to the Mansuriya Hospital .

The most voluminous of his books is Al-Shamil fi al-Tibb, which was designed to be an encyclopedia comprising 300 volumes, but was not completed as a result of his death. He managed to publish only eighty. His book on ophthalmology is largely an original contribution and is also extant.

His book that became most famous, however, was Mujaz al-Qanun (The Summary of Law) and a number of commentaries that were written on this same topic.

His commentaries include one on Hippocrates' book, and several volumes on Ibn Sina's Qanun, which are still extant. Likewise he wrote a commentary on Hunayn Ibn Ishaq's book.

Another famous book embodying his original contribution was on the effects of diet on health entitled Kitab al-Mukhtar fi al-Aghdhiya.

Ibnu Al-Nafis was an Arab physician who made several important contribution to the early knowledge of pulmonary circulation.

In the third century BC the ancient Alexandrian physician Herophilus maintained that arteries and veins were attached to each other; this scientific fact was long neglected, then revived by the Arab physician Abu al-Abbas al-Majusi (died 994 AD) in his book Kamil al-Sina’a al-tibbiya, which states that if the artery is cut, venal blood is discharged though it.

The Greek philosophy Galen developed an early model of the circulatory system involved two types of blood. He believed that the blood was manufactured in digestive glands and then passed through the liver.

The blood then travelled to the ventricles of the heart where it was mixed with life-giving properties before being consumed in the tissues of the body.

He concluded that the veins along carried the blood of the circulatory system, while the arteries carried the giving air.

Ibnu Al-Nafis was the first person to challenge the long-held contention of the Galen School that blood could passed through the cardiac interventricular septum.

He was the first to correctly describe the constitution of the lungs and gave a description of the bronchi and the interaction between the human body's vessels for air and blood. He also elaborated on the function of the coronary arteries as suppliers of blood to the cardiac musculature.
Blood circulation discovery by Ibnu Nafis
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