In this new book, Aubrey Leatham traces the development of Cardiology from 1945 when there was no treatment for any cardiac problem; today there is specific treatment for each one. It has been brought about by specialisation, initiated in 1947 by Parkinson (later Sir John) at the National Heart Hospital in central London. He formed the Institute of Cardiology, with Paul Wood as Director, and in a few years this became a World Centre.
Clinical cardiology became a major disci-pline, further stimulated by the author's visit as a Consultant to the King of Bhutan in 1963. The author's experiences in that medieval country, only connected to the world outside by a fortnight-long mule journey, are illustrated here by a selection of his unique colour photographs of that secret place.
Dr Leatham’s prescription for a full and active life, both mental and physical, is exemplified most of all by himself: at 91 he skis, plays tennis, sails and swims – and still found time to share his experiences and wisdom in this book.
As a medical student I was fascinated by clinical diagnosis. Later I realised that its weakness was auscultation of the heart, and in 1947 I developed apparatus for recording heart sounds and murmurs. These two subjects brought me numerous lecture tours in the USA. There I turned to study coronary artery disease, the 'big killer'.
In 1963 I imported to St George's Hospital, and Europe, the new technique of selective coronary arteriography developed by Mason Sones at Cleveland.
After two sudden deaths during cardiac investigations, I asked my chief technician to design and construct a pacemaker; in 1955 we paced the first patient in the UK. In the 1960s we had one thousand patients on pacemakers at St George's.