A series of engravings, accompanied with explanations which are intended to illustrate the
morbid anatomy of some of the most important parts of the human body. London, W.Blumer,
& Co., 1799-1803.
Although Mayow, Vieussens, de Senac, and Morgagni reported early accounts of mitral stenosis (cartilaginous changes, or bony transformation of the mitral orifice), they did not discuss the potential cause of this valvular disease. As early as 1788, David Pitcairn mentioned for the first time the relationship between rheumatic arthritis and organic heart disease in a lecture at St Bartholomew's Hospital. He did not write his observations but left them with Matthew Baillie, the last gold-headed Cane of the Royal College of Physicians, who recorded them. Baillie also mentioned this association in his famous monograph.
"The morbid anatomy of some of the most important parts of the human body" is described as the first systematic study of pathology in English language and was published in 1793. The first American edition was released in 1795. In the first edition, Baillie provided an accurate description of pericarditis without any reference to rheumatism. He also reported observations on calcification of the aortic and mitral valves in his treatise.
In the second edition which was published in 1797, Baillie described "rheumatic carditis" and mentioned briefly the relationship between rheumatic arthritis and certain cardiac diseases, particularly those affecting the pericardium and valvular structures.
He also published a second book entitled, "A series of engravings, accompanied with explanations which are intended to illustrate the morbid anatomy of some of the most important parts of the human body." The book was interestingly dedicated to David Pitcairn. The second edition of this work, as shown here, appeared in 1812.
This first systematic atlas of pathology is divided into 10 sections. The engravings were prepared by William Clift who also worked for John Hunter and depicts numerous specimens from Hunter's collection. Plates 1 and 2, displayed here, illustrate diseases affecting the pericardium and cardiac structures.
The first plate with three figures describes a typical case of pericarditis with pericardial thickening.
The second plate which is composed of five figures focuses on the "ossification" of aortic and mitral valves and valvular lesions compatible with infective endocarditis. There is also an engraving of bicuspid aortic valve with leaflet thickening and minor calcification from Hunter's collection. These engravings on cardiac pathology are considered among the best in the history of medicine until that time.