The history of blood transfusion prior to the 20th century–part 2

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Abstract

Although there are a number of descriptions of ‘blood infusion’ in antiquity, it was the publication of the discovery of the circulation of blood in 1628 by William Harvey and the work of Christopher Wren and Robert Boyle in 1663 on the infusion of different materials into dogs that paved the way to the possible practical attempts at actual blood transfusion. Although these early experiments, principally by Richard Lower in England and Jean Denis in France provided valuable information regarding inter-species incompatibility and the problems of blood coagulation, it was not until the work of James Blundell in the early part of the 19th century that blood transfusion was used as a means of blood replacement. However, blood transfusion was not to become an accepted therapeutic possibility until the discovery of practical anticoagulation and the ABO blood groups at the start of the 20th century.

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