Ibn al-Nafis and the discovery of the pulmonary circulation
Ibn al-Nafis was an Arab physician, scientist, and philosopher who was born in 1213 in Damascus and died in1288 in Cairo. He studied medicine in Damascus and moved to Egypt to practice medicine where he became the chief physician in the Mansouri Bimaristan. Ibn al-Nafis wrote in a wide array of fields, including physiology, medicine, ophthalmology, embryology, psychology, philosophy, law, and theology. He is famous for providing the first description of the pulmonary circulation. He was the first person to challenge the long-held theory of the Galen (129-207 AD) School that blood could pass from the right to the left side of the heart through small pores in the interventricular septum. He believed that all the blood that reached the left ventricle passed through the lungs. The work of al-Nafis on the pulmonary circulation predates the much later work of William Harvey (1578 –1657).
Robinson, Francis. The Cambridge Illustrated History of the Islamic World. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1996.
West JB. Ibn al-Nafis, the pulmonary circulation, and the Islamic golden age. J Applied Phys 2008 Dec; 105(6): 1877–1880.
Qatayyah S. The Arabic Physician Ibn Nafis (in Arabic), 1st Ed. Beirut: Arabic Corporation for Studies and Publication, 1984.
Iskandar AZ. Ibn al-Nafis. Dictionary of Scientific Biography, New York, Scribner’s 1970-1980 9: 602–606.
Meyerhof M. Ibn al-Nafis (XIII cent.) and his theory of the lesser circulation. Isis 1935; 23:100-120.
Akmal M, Zulkifle M, Ansari AH. Ibn Nafis- A forgotten genius in the discovery of pulmonary blood circulation. Heart views 2010 Mar-May; 11(1): 26–30.
Gordon EJ. William Harvey and the circulation of the blood. South Med J 1991:84:1439-44.
El-Said Abdel-Halim R. Contributions of Ibn al Nafis to the progress of medicine and urology. Saudi Medical J 2008; 29: 13-22.
All articles are published under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/