Acute attacks and chronic consequences of the diseases of heart and arteries by J.H. Clarke….


THERE are three main divisions into which organic affections of the heart and vessels may be classed: (I,) Acute inflammatory diseases; (2,) Chronic consequences of acute inflammations; and (3,) Affections which are chronic from the beginning. To these must be added : The effects of sudden heart strain, or sudden emotions; effects of prolonged muscular over-exertion, as in athletes; faulty dress; drugging (including the effects of alcohol and tobacco); chronic kidney disease; debilitating habits; residences at high altitudes; and surgical interference with constitutional diseases.

Of all the causes which give rise to acute diseases of the heart, rheumatic fever is the most common; whooping cough, and the specific fevers (scarlatina, measles, typhoid, typhus, diphtheria, etc.), coming next in frequency. And it must not be forgotten that the heart may become the seat of inflammation primarily, from a chill, independently of any others disease, just as there may be inflammation of the lungs or any other organ from the same cause.

The serous membrane which covers the heart (pericardium), and that which lines it (endocardium) are peculiarly liable to become inflamed when the blood is charged with irritating poisons. These inflammations, as I shall show, are capable of subsiding without leaving behind any discoverable trace of their ever having occurred. Very frequently, however, permanent changes remain, which give rise to the class of heart affections which I have put second in the list.

The consequences of acute affections which remain behind are of various kinds, according to the part which was originally affected. If it was the outer covering, the result will be adherent pericardium, adhesion, that is, of the outer covering of the heart to the wall of the sac in which it moves. Strange to say this adhesion may exist to an extreme degree without giving rise to any symptoms whatever, as has been proved by post-mortem examination; the pericardium has been found to be completely adherent in patients who have not manifested the slightest sign of it during life.

The inner lining of the heart (endocardium) is a much more complicated affair than the outer covering, and consequently is much more liable to be injured by disease, and when injured to leave permanent consequences. The valves of the heart are composed of folds of the endocardium, which open and close with the heart’s beat, to admit the blood to the various cavities and prevent its return.

When these valves are inflamed they do not perform their functions properly; they open too little, and so obstruct the blood’s passage, or they do not close perfectly and allow the blood to escape backwards, or they do both. When inflammation subsides, the obstruction may be removed and the blood-current go on perfectly as before; or, it may not. Then, in listening over the heart, the murmuring or blowing sounds which are heard replacing some part of the normal “lupp-dupp” of the heart’s beat, during the acute attack, persist afterwards. The patient finds himself short of breath on very slight exertion, and liable to palpitation of the heart and attacks of pain and faintness.

If there were not some power of compensating the disadvantage, the patient would have a miserable existence, which would soon end in death. But happily the heart is capable of a large development of strength to meet the needs of the case, “compensatory hypertrophy” occurs, and the balance is more or less completely restored; in many cases so complete is the recovery that life is not shortened, nor is its usefulness impaired.

John Henry Clarke
John Henry Clarke MD (1853 – November 24, 1931 was a prominent English classical homeopath. Dr. Clarke was a busy practitioner. As a physician he not only had his own clinic in Piccadilly, London, but he also was a consultant at the London Homeopathic Hospital and researched into new remedies — nosodes. For many years, he was the editor of The Homeopathic World. He wrote many books, his best known were Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica and Repertory of Materia Medica