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Self-portrait, Henry Vandyke Carter, MD (Public Domain)
Henry Vandyke Carter, MD (1831 – 1897)
English physician, surgeon, medical artist, and a pioneer in leprosy and mycetoma studies. HV Carter was born in Yorkshire in 1831. He was the son of Henry Barlow Carter, a well-known artist and it is possible that he honed his natural talents with his father. His mother picked his middle name after a famous painter, Anthony Van Dyck. This is probably why his name is sometimes shown as Henry Van Dyke Carter, although the most common presentation of his middle name is Vandyke.
Having problems to finance his medical studies, HV Carter trained as an apothecary and later as an anatomical demonstrator at St. George’s Hospital in London, where he met Henry Gray (1872-1861), who was at the time the anatomical lecturer. Having seen the quality of HV Carter’s drawings, Henry Gray teamed with him to produce one of the most popular and longer-lived anatomy books in history: “Gray’s Anatomy”, which was first published in late 1857. The book itself, about which many papers have been written, was immediately accepted and praised because of the clarity of the text as well as the incredible drawings of Henry Vandyke Carter.
While working on the book’s drawings, HV Carter continued his studies and received his MD in 1856.
In spite of initially being offered a co-authorship of the book, Dr. Carter was relegated to the position of illustrator by Henry Gray and never saw the royalties that the book could have generated for him. For all his work and dedication, Dr. Carter only received a one-time payment of 150 pounds. Dr. Carter never worked again with Gray, who died of smallpox only a few years later.
Frustrated, Dr. Carter took the exams for the India Medical Service. In 1858 he joined as an Assistant Surgeon and later became a professor of anatomy and physiology. Even later he served as a Civil Surgeon. During his tenure with the India Medical Service he attained the ranks of Surgeon, Surgeon-Major, Surgeon-Lieutenant-Colonel, and Brigade-Surgeon.
Dr. Carter dedicated the rest of his life to the study of leprosy, and other ailments typical of India at that time. He held several important offices, including that of Dean of the Medical School of the University of Bombay. In 1890, after his retirement, he was appointed Honorary Physician to the Queen.
Dr. Henry Vandyke Carter died of tuberculosis in 1897.
Personal note: Had history been different, this famous book would have been called “Gray and Carter’s Anatomy” and Dr. Carter never gone to India. His legacy is still seen in the images of the thousands of copies of “Gray’s Anatomy” throughout the world and the many reproductions of his work available on the Internet. We are proud to use some of his images in this blog. The image accompanying this article is a self-portrait of Dr. Carter. Click on the image for a larger depiction. Dr. Miranda
Sources: 1. “Obituary: Henry Vandyke Carter” Br Med J (1897);1:1256-7 2. “The Anatomist: A True Story of ‘Gray’s Anatomy” Hayes W. (2007) USA: Ballantine 3. “A Glimpse of Our Past: Henry Gray’s Anatomy” Pearce, JMS. J Clin Anat (2009) 22:291–295 4. “Henry Gray and Henry Vandyke Carter: Creators of a famous textbook” Roberts S. J Med Biogr (2000) 8:206–212. 5. “Henry Vandyke Carter and his meritorious works in India” Tappa, DM et al. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol (2011) 77:101-3
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Published: Tuesday, August 08, 2023 07:00 | Written by: Efrain A. Miranda, Ph.D. | Hits: 5496
[UPDATED] The term [atrium] is Latin, its plural form is [atria]. The atrium was the center hall of a Roman home, around which the rest of the rooms opened. Since the atrium was the first area of the house that was entered once passing through the front door, the term [atrium] has been used to describe the "entrance hall', such as the atrium of a hotel. The atria are the two superior chambers of the heart. (see image, items "A=right atrium" and "B=left atrium")
An interesting question is why are the atria called so, since they are part of the heart, and not just the entrance?. The reason is that early anatomists considered the heart to be composed only by the ventricles. The atria were then chambers where blood would wait before entering the "heart proper", ergo [atria].
Each atrium has a smooth wall (sinus venarum) and a muscular extension akin to a closed-end bag. These are the atrial appendages or auricles. Anatomically they are quite different. The right atrial appendage communication or opening to the right atrium is wide and allows blood to easily flow from and to the atrium. On the contrary, the left atrial appendage has a very small opening (ostium) and its morphology is convoluted with lobulations and a complicated mesh of atrial muscle wall.
The very structure of the left atrial appendage is quite conducive to the formation of clots in atrial fibrillation (AFib). These anchored clots (thrombus/thrombi) can detach and become free clots (embulus/emboli) that will enter the blood stream, pass into the left ventricle, then though the aortic valve, and then pass into the ascending aorta and main circulation. Unfortunately, two of the first arteries that arise from the aorta are the common carotid arteries that take blood to the brain and these thrombi can cause a brain stroke.
Personal note: In May 2020 Dr. Randall K. Wolf invited me to a seminar where we discussed the anatomy of the left atrial appendage, the problems it can cause in atrial fibrillation as a cause for stroke, and the reasons for its exclusion in AFib surgery. This probably will be moved to an article dedicated to the left atrial appendage in the future. For now, here it is.