Cardiol Young 2009; 19: 12–29

© Cambridge University Press

ISSN 1047-9511


Accepted for publication 30 October 2008

First published online 15 December 2008


One Hundred Years of Texts Describing Congenitally Malformed Hearts from 1814 to 1914



William N Evans, Ruben J Acherman, Robert H Anderson



ChildrenŐs Heart Center Nevada, 3006 S Maryland Pkwy, Ste 690, Las Vegas, NV 89109, USA.




Before paediatric cardiology emerged as a specialty in the mid 20th century, a body of literature had developed over centuries devoted to description of congenitally malformed hearts. In this review, we have selected highlights from such texts written during the period of 100 years from 1814 to 1914, demonstrating their potential relevance to controversies occurring during the twentieth century in the categorisation of such hearts. We begin in 1814, with the first wide-ranging book devoted to congenital cardiac malformations. We end with a publication from 1914, because it included an illustration of the first electrocardiogram in a text devoted to paediatric disease. As we will show, these works from the 19th and early 20th centuries reflect topics still relevant today, namely the aetiology of cardiac malformations, clinicopathologic correlations, attempts at classification, and lack of effective treatments. Attention to their content could have served to ameliorate controversies, some of them ongoing.


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