Background of the prevention of cardiovascular disease. II. Arteriosclerosis, hypertension, and selected risk factors.
The prevention of cardiovascular disease antedates our current preoccupation with risk factors for coronary heart disease and hypertension. Indeed, earlier preventive efforts have in part been so successful that many people have forgotten that they existed. The almost forgotten entity, beriberi heart disease, was first prevented in 1883 by Takaki of Japan. With diphtheria, it was the identification of the causative bacillus by Klebs in 1883, leading finally to the development of diphtheria toxoid by Ramon in 1923, which resulted in the disappearance of diphtheritic heart disease. Success in the attack on syphilitic heart and vascular disease began with Bordet and Gengou in 1901 with the discovery of the phenomenon of complement fixation, and with the formulation of Salvarsan by Ehrlich in 1907. The story of the prevention of rheumatic fever has a large cast of characters, but special recognition must be given to Coburn for his observations confirming the role of the hemolytic streptococcus published in 1931 and showing the prophylactic value of sulfanilamide published in 1939. The important association of maternal rubella with congenital heart malformations was revealed by Gregg in 1941. Alcoholic heart disease was identified particularly by Brigden and Evans in 1957 and 1959, respectively. In relation to coronary and hypertensive heart disease, the names of Anitschkow (1933), Leary (1935), and Keys (1948) in relation to diet, of Freis (1967) in the field of hypertension treatment, of White (1927) in relation to physical exercise, and of English, Willius, and Berkson (1940) and Hammond and Horn (1954) in the role of cigarette smoking, deserve special recognition.
- Copyright © 1989 by American Heart Association