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      Hermann Boerhaave and Lithotomy: What He Thought about It

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          Abstract

          Hermann Boerhaave (1668–1738) was one of the most important figures in 18th-century medicine. With his particular contribution surgery began its transition to a real clinical medical activity becoming increasingly based on linking symptoms with the knowledge of anatomopathological transformations. Lithiasis of the urinary tract was a very common disease throughout Europe. During the early 18th century the surgical approaches for lithotomy to treat lithiasis had very high risks of complications. In the face of the very common and dangerous complications, the doctors and surgeons actively sought all possible solutions short of surgery, and left lithotomy as the last alternative. Boerhaave dedicated a chapter in his ‘Institutiones medicae’ to the treatment of lithiasis of the urinary tract. His recommendations included an increase in liquid intake, a hot bath in order to induce vasodilation, and exercise. Using these methods, Boerhaave felt that stone removal should be achieved, and perhaps reflecting both the status of surgery in the early 18th century and an appreciation of the risks of the surgical procedures available. Boerhaave’s opinion of lithomy as a last resort when other approaches failed was, ‘I think lithotomy is an act of pure faith’.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          AJN
          Am J Nephrol
          10.1159/issn.0250-8095
          American Journal of Nephrology
          S. Karger AG
          978-3-8055-7424-2
          978-3-318-00852-4
          0250-8095
          1421-9670
          2002
          July 2002
          27 June 2002
          : 22
          : 2-3
          : 290-294
          Affiliations
          aDepartment of Medical and Surgical Sciences, Division of Nephrology, and bDepartment of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Clinica Medica 4, University of Padua, Italy
          Article
          63776 Am J Nephrol 2002;22:290–294
          10.1159/000063776
          12097755
          © 2002 S. Karger AG, Basel

          Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug. Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

          Page count
          Figures: 8, References: 5, Pages: 5
          Product
          Self URI (application/pdf): https://www.karger.com/Article/Pdf/63776
          Categories
          Therapeutics of Kidney Diseases

          Cardiovascular Medicine, Nephrology

          Institutiones medicae, Lithotomy, Hermann Boerhaave

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