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Tex Heart Inst J. 2009;36(2):152-3.

Were pneumothorax and its management known in 15th-century anatolia?

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Department of Thoracic Surgery, Pamukkale University, 20070 Kinikli, Denizli, Turkey.


Jean-Marc Gaspard Itard, a student of René Laennec's, first recognized pneumothorax in 1803, and Laennec himself described the full clinical picture of the condition in 1819. Treatment of pneumothorax was not begun as a standard procedure until World War II, but we think that Serefeddin Sabuncuoglu recognized the condition and applied treatment in the 15th century.Sabuncuoglu (1385-1470) was a surgeon who lived in Amasya (in Anatolia). In 1465, he completed Cerrahiyyetül Haniyye (Imperial Surgery), the 1st illustrated surgical textbook in the Turkish-Islamic medical literature. We describe the highlights of the book's recommendations concerning treatment of thoracic trauma, particularly of pneumothorax. We reproduce 2 of the colored miniature illustrations and add our comments regarding the advice of Sabuncuoglu. Most notably, he advocated "mihceme," a cupping therapy, as a simple technique of thoracic aspiration.


History of medicine, 15th cent.; medical illustration/history; pneumothorax/therapy; thoracic surgery/history

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