The studies of blood transfusion and the attempts of its implementation into medical practice in 1800–1875: the fate of J.-A. Roussel’s device in Russia

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Maria Sergeeva
Evgeniya Panova


blood transfusion, J.-A. Roussel, Russia


Since the beginning of the 19th century, physicians’ interest to the study of blood transfusion has increased significantly. The experimental researchers of the first half of the 19th century paid special attention to the issues of intra- and interspecific blood transfusion.  In 1860s numerous military conflicts in Europe led to the necessity of studying the issues of blood transfusion’s practical application in medicine. A choice of donor’s blood source (animal or human), type of blood for transfusion (whole or defibrated blood), methods of preservation, stock and storage of blood became the main priorities of research during this period. Both blood transfusion experimental studies and human-to-human transfusions conducted in Europe and Russia in 1800-1875 have become historical, scientific and technical ground which preceded and largely determined the promotion and distribution of the first device for blood transfusion which had a commercial success. In 1873 the apparatus invented by a Swiss doctor Joseph-Antoine Roussel took the first prize at the Vienna World's Fair. Roussel managed to sell hundreds of copies of his invention to the armies of Austria-Hungary, Belgium, and Russia, taking advantage of the situation of political tension in Europe. The article presents the key circumstances of the implementation of Roussel’s device in Russia in 1874, such as the results of its clinical trials, some financial aspects of the apparatus’ acquisition by the Main Military Medical Department, etc.   

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