The Origin and the Foundations of European Vascular Surgery

The first interventions of Man on the blood vessels are lost in the depth of history, although some descriptions exist in ancient Indian and Greek texts. All the great classical physicians, such as Hippocrates (fifth century b.c.), Aurelius Celsus (first century a.d.), Galen (second century a.d.) and Paulus Aegineta (sixth century a.d.), described various methods of treating varicose veins by ligation, cauterization and even stripping of the dilated long saphenous vein [14, 38]. The Greek Antyllus of the third century a.d., the most famous surgeon of antiquity, applied the well-known Antyllus' method, an operation for aneurysm in which he applied two ligatures to the artery and cut between them. This was the accepted method of dealing with aneurysms until the work of Jon Hunter in the eighteenth century. Antyllus was the first to recognize two forms of aneurysm: the developmental, caused by dilatation, and the traumatic, following arterial trauma [38].

The famous surgeon-philosopher René Leriche (18791955) credits four people who, with their ideas, practice and findings, influenced the development and evolution of knowledge in order to establish vascular surgery and to a certain extent its destination in Europe and the world all over. These four people were Ambroise Paré, William Harvey, Jean-Louis Petit and John Hunter [38].

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