Harvey en zijn circulatietheorie: van natuurfilosoof tot medisch empirist.

Translated title of the contribution: [Harvey and his theory of circulation].

Frank J. Wolters*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademic


In 1628 the English physician William Harvey (1578-1657) published his revolutionary theory that blood circulates through the body driven by the heart. This challenged the long-standing teachings of Hippocrates and Galen concerning 4 different bodily fluids or 'humours' that flowed through separate arterial and venous vascular systems. Harvey gained considerable influence in society as a member of the prestigious Royal College of Physicians in London and as personal physician to King James I and King Charles I. He strove for a more empirical foundation of medicine by means of anatomic demonstrations and vivisections. Despite enduring considerable criticism he managed to disseminate his ideas around the influential universities of Europe in the course of his lifetime. However, consequent changes in practice would not be brought about until decades after Harvey's death, when Galenist treatments such as blood-letting were gradually abandoned.

Translated title of the contribution[Harvey and his theory of circulation].
Original languageDutch
Article numberA6715
JournalNederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde
Issue number48
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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