The History of Blood

  • 300

    First dissection of humans - BCE

    Herophilus was the first Greek anatomist to openly dissect humans. He theorized that arteries were thicker than veins, and the arteries carried the blood.
  • 350

    Aristotle Theorizes about the heart - BCE

    Aristotle theorized that the heart was the main organ in the body. He dissected many animals and came to the conclusion that the heart was three chambered, and supposed this was true in humans also.
  • Jan 1, 1200

    Cairo physician describes the flow of blood

    Ibn al-Nafis, a physician in Cairo, looks at the studies done on blood and develops his own theories after performing a dissection. He finds that blood flows to and from the lungs. This is called pulmonary circulation.
  • Fabricius publishes "On the Valves in Veins"

    Fabricius, an anatomist, published the first popular book on blood. His book featured detailed drawings of veins which gave the public a more clear idea of the concept.
  • Red blood cells observed for the first time

    Jan Swammerdam becomes the first person to describe red blood cells. Using a microscope, Jan was able to observe the red blood cells and develop new theories.
  • Capillary System observed for the first time

    Marcello Malpighi, an Italian anatomist observed the capillary system under a miscroscope for the first time. He saw a network of vessels that consisted of arteries and veins.
  • First blood transfusion performed on animals

    Richard Lower, of England, performed the first blood transfusion on animals. He used a syringe to tranfer blood from the jugular of one dog to the artery of another dog.
  • First blood transfusion performed on human

    French physician, Jean Denis , performed a transfusion on a sick teenage boy with a high fever using lamb's blood. Surprisingly the boy recovered, and lamb's blood was frequently used from there on.
  • Book published on blood research

    William Hewson published, "Experimental Enquiry into the properties of Blood" which explained every detail of his blood research. The book described what is now known today as fibrogen.
  • First human-to-human blood transfusion

    James Blundell, a physiologist, transfuses the blood from one human to another. After suffering from internal bleeding a patient is given blood from multiple donors. However, the patient ended up dying after showing improvement.
  • Platelets discovered

    Sir William Osler discovers cell fragments in bone marrow. He then continues to find clots in the blood vessels which today are known as platelets.
  • Paper published on blood types

    Karl Landsteiner published the first paper describing three different blood types. In the paper he explains that different blood types cannot be mixed together, which is why the human blood transfusions have failed.
  • A fourth blood group discovered

    Landsteiner's colleagues discover the blood group "AB". They believe the blood cells of A and B blood types fused together.
  • Blood type checked for the first time

    Dr. Hecktoen recommends that blood types should be named compatible before any transfusion. Because of his recommendation cross matching is established and transfusions begin on a journey to success.
  • Method to prevent clotting of blood discovered

    Researchers find that applying sodium citrate to blood prevents clotting. This idea is then published and experimented with.
  • Sodium Citrate mixed with donor blood

    Dr. Richard Lewisohn combines sodium citrate with donor blood an creates a recipe to prevent coagulation. This blood is then used in many successful transfusions.
  • New solution developed allowing for the storage of blood

    At the Rockefeller Institutue a citrate-glucose solution was developed. This allowed blood to be able to be stored and refrigerated for weeks and still be successful in transfusions.
  • First blood depot established

    During WWI a doctor serving in the army stores blood in order to try to save soldiers. Without knowing it, he establishes the first blood depot.
  • First blood donor service

    Percy Lane Oliver decided to run a blood donor service out of his own home. He recruited volunteers and the service ran smoothly for years.
  • Live human transfused with cadaver blood

    After attempting to commit suicide a young man undergoes a blood transfusion with a dead man's blood. After its success this becomes common.
  • Organized transfusion service

    The first tranfusion service is established a the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. This clinic is the first to store blood and send the blood to various hospitals.
  • First blood bank established

    At the Cook County Hospital in Chicago a doctor describes these blood donation facilities as blood banks. These blood banks begin showing up at every hospital across the country.
  • Unknown Antibody discovered

    After a woman gave birth to a stillborn, researchers examined her blood and found an unknown anitbody. This antibody was later known as the anti-Rh.
  • Plasma shortage triggers campaign

    After a severe plasma shortage, a campaign in arranged in order to develop and preserve plasma. A system is then developed in order to ensure plasma is sterilzed and can be used.
  • Red Cross establishes blood service

    In order to collect plasma for the war effort the Red Cross establishes a service. Over 13 million units of blood were collected throughout the war.
  • Jaundice linked to blood tranfusions

    Dr. Paul Beeson links several cases of jaundice to blood transfusions. This brings about the idea of blood related hepatitis.
  • American Association of Blood Banks established

    Directors of blood banks across the nation decided to team up to form a national network. This sets the stage for more research and more findings.
  • Structure of hemoglobin discovered

    Using X-ray crystallography Dr. Max Perutz identified the structure of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen.
  • New information about plasma discovered

    Dr. Judith Pool studied slowly thawed frozen plasma and observed some interesting properties. She found that the plasma had greater clotting power than normal plasma.
  • FDA takes over blood banking industry

    The secretary of health found it necessary to transfer the regulation of the blood banking industry to the federal institute, the FDA. Because of this many tests were mandated by the FDA.
  • New syndrome arises

    The GRID (gay- related immunodeficiency disease) was first reported among gay men. This was later renamed as AIDS.
  • New theory about GRID developed

    Dr. Bruce Evatt found that even hemophiliacs were acquiring GRID. He then developed the theory that the sydnrome may be blood borne.
  • AIDS causing virus isolated

    At a lab in France the AIDS causing virus was isolated by researchers. It was found in the swollen lymph node of an AIDS victim.
  • Virus that causes AIDS identified

    Dr. Robert Gallo of the National Institute of Health found the virus that caused AIDS. He called it the HTLV III (human T-cell lymphotrophic virus).
  • ELISA test

    The first blood screening test is performed due to the spread of AIDS due to blood transfusions. The test is adopted world-wide in order to control the spread of AIDS.