Author + information
- Received October 4, 2001
- Revision received February 20, 2002
- Accepted February 25, 2002
- Published online May 15, 2002.
- ↵*Reprint requests and correspondence to: Dr. Mark E. Silverman, 1968 Peachtree Road NW, Atlanta, Georgia 30309 USA.
Walter Holbrook Gaskell was a nineteenth-century British physiologist whose investigations from 1874 until 1889 became central to our current understanding of cardiac physiology. His many cardiac contributions include the following: 1) the recognition of certain inherent properties of cardiac muscle; 2) the experimental proof that led to the acceptance of the myogenic theory of the origin of the heartbeat; 3) the mapping of the anatomy of the sympathetic nervous system; 4) the understanding of the dual autonomic control of the heart; 5) the discovery of the vasodilating effect of sympathetic stimulation on blood flow through skeletal muscle arteries; and 6) the introduction of the concept of heart block. Gaskell’s elucidation of the sequence of cardiac contraction and atrioventricular block and his concepts of rhythmicity, excitability, contractility, conductivity and tonicity provided the physiologic explanation necessary for the future understanding of cardiac rhythm disturbances.
- Received October 4, 2001.
- Revision received February 20, 2002.
- Accepted February 25, 2002.
- American College of Cardiology Foundation
- Early life and career
- Investigations on rhythmicity, the origin of the heartbeat and the sequence of conduction
- Experimentally induced retrograde cardiac conduction
- The myogenic versus the neurogenic theory of the spontaneous heartbeat
- Investigations on AV block
- Other early contributions to AV block
- Later life