ISSN ONLINE: 2558-815X
ISSN PRINT: 1584-9244
ISSN-L: 1584-9244

The Italian anatomist Realdo Colombo (1516-1559) and his contribution to the discovery of pulmonary circulation


In our article we present the anatomical work of the distinguished Renaissance anatomist Realdo Colombo, as well as, his contribution to the discovery of pulmonary circulation. Colombo was not the first to describe the pulmonary circulation, but he backed up this hypothesis with evidence after extensive dissection and vivisection. He paved the way for his successors and particularly William Harvey (1578-1657) to the establishment of anatomy and physiology of blood circulation.
Key words: history of cardiology, pulmonary circulation, Colombo, anatomy.

Realdo Colombo was born in Cremona, Italy around 1516. He was the son of an apothecary named Antonio Colombo. Little is known about his early life, although it seems that he took his first university education in Milan, studying liberal arts. Soon afterwards, he worked as an apothecary for a short time, before he began to study surgery with Giovanni Antonio Lonigo1. In 1538, Colombo enrolled to the famous University of Padua, where a succession of anatomists made significant contributions. After three years of studies, Colombo became the assistant of Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564), the professor of anatomy and author of one of the most influential books on human anatomy entitled „De humani corporis fabrica“2,3. However, his public criticism on Vesalius’ work, ended their friendship and co-operation.

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