Original Research

The pulse as diagnostic aid in Graeco-Roman times and the Mediaeval Ages

Francois P. Retief, Louise Cilliers
Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Natuurwetenskap en Tegnologie | Vol 32, No 1 | a371 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/satnt.v32i1.371 | © 2013 Francois P. Retief, Louise Cilliers | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 23 June 2012 | Published: 27 May 2013

About the author(s)

Francois P. Retief, Department of Classical and Near Eastern Studies , University of the Free State, South Africa
Louise Cilliers, Department of Classical and Near Eastern Studies , University of the Free State, South Africa


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Abstract

The aim of this article is to highlight a particular contribution in the history of medicine made by ancient physicians more than two millennia ago. In modern times the taking of the pulse as clinical tool is self-evident, but the fact that doctors in Graeco-Roman times and the Medievel Ages, when so little was known of physiology and especially of the cardiovascular system, could measure the pulse beat to diagnose, evaluate and treat diseases, is quite remarkable. As such it is a forerunner of the modern taking of the pulse, though physicians today have more sophisticated ways to detect illnesses.

Keywords

diagnostic aid; pulse beat; pulse types; heart rhythm; Disgnostiese hulpmiddel; vaskulêre pulsasie; hartritme; polstipes

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