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Early Phlebotomy

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Phlebotomy is a method of drawing small amounts of blood for a test using a needle and a syringe. At the antique days it was referred to as bloodletting and was the most ordinary medical procedure conducted by physicians from olden days until the late 19th century.  It was used for almost 2,000 years.

Early Phlebotomy

The method has being discarded. At past in the absence of other medical treatments for hypertension, this procedure had some advantages in lessening blood pressure by decreasing blood quantity. Hypertension is frequently asymptomatic hence cannot be detected without current procedures. Bloodletting was not safe for many patients as many diseases were caused by plethoras.

Bloodletting was practiced by many antique groups like Mesopotamians, Egyptians and Greeks. In Greece, it was in practice in the 5th century B.C. in life span of Hippocrates, who supported dietary practices. Several physicians in Rome supported bloodletting.

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In Mediterranean world, bloodletting was propping up by Galen who revealed that even arteries were filled with blood and not air as it was believed. Galen came up with a scheme of the amount of blood to be aloof as per the patient’s age, the season and the weather of the place he is located. The blood to be removed was of a given nature and was as per the disease: which could be either arterial or venous. Different blood vessels were connected with different organs, for example the vein on the right would be associated with liver complications and that on the left hand for spleen complications. The more serious the disease, the more blood would be removed.

In the second millennium, the method of bloodletting was maintained by surgeons and barber surgeons. Some physicians believe that bloodletting is a good way to ‘clear out’ impure and flagged blood.

Bloodletting was carried on to 20th century and was advocated by scholars like Sir William Osler in his 1923 book The Principles and Practice of Medicine. Various techniques were developed among them includes phlebotomy or venesection, here blood was removed from a larger external veins.

Scientific medicine was approved by William Harvey in 1628 that disproved bloodletting. He argued that phlebotomy was not effective in pneumonia and numerous fevers treatment in the 1830s. Bloodletting was recommended to treat almost all diseases like acne, cancer, epilepsy, asthma, herps, indigestion and insanity. It was also used to treat hemorrhaging like nose bleeding, excessive menstruation and during childbirth.

Phlebotomy is friendly to human compared to bloodletting. WHO has approved phlebotomy as a treatment to almost all diseases.

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