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Saudi Med J. 2007 Mar;28(3):323-5.

Pericardial pathology 900 years ago. A study and translations from an Arabic medical textbook.

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Division of Urology, Department of Surgery, King Saud University College of Medicine, King Khalid University Hospital, PO Box 7805, Riyadh 11472, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


This is a study and translation of the section on pericarditis in Al Taisir book written by the Muslim physician Ibn Zuhr Avenzoar who lived and practiced in Eshbeelia nowadays Seville, Andalusia, Spain between 1091-1162 AD. Ibn Zuhr described the serous type of pericarditis as well as the pathological findings in fibrinous pericarditis. His description of the latter may also fit with the picture of chronic fibrous pericarditis. He also described acute purulent pericarditis and involvement of the pericardium in cases of acute carditis with hectic fever. Ibn Zuhr's description of the pericardial effusion in serous pericarditis as looking like urine indicates that he must have seen a sample of the fluid obtained either by pericardiocentesis or during a post-mortem examination. However, his description of solid substances accumulating on the inside of the hearts covering looking like layers upon layers of membranes could not have been made possible without post-mortem dissection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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