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Vessels Described by Thebesius and Pratt Are Distinct From Those Described by Vieussens and Wearn

      When a normal vascular connection is identified between a coronary artery and a heart chamber, there may be no accurate term to define it. The definitions of the arterioluminal and arteriosinusoidal vessels were made in 1933 by Wearn with the aid of serial histologic sections, and distinction between the 2 is not routinely reported. Wearn et al
      • Wearn J.T.
      • Mettier S.R.
      • Klumpp T.G.
      • Zschiesche L.J.
      The nature of the vascular communications between the coronary arteries and the chambers of the heart.
      commented on the 1706 publication of these vessels by Vieussens and noted that they are distinct from those published in 1708 by Thebesius. Wearn et al
      • Wearn J.T.
      • Mettier S.R.
      • Klumpp T.G.
      • Zschiesche L.J.
      The nature of the vascular communications between the coronary arteries and the chambers of the heart.
      and Grant
      • Grant R.T.
      An unusual anomaly of the coronary vessels in the malformed heart of a child.
      reported on an arteriosinusoidal vessel connecting to a myocardial sinusoid in the setting of normal and pathologic conditions, respectively. Angiographers appreciate the distinction between the arterial and venous connections.
      • Grollman J.H.
      Re: Three major coronary artery-to-left ventricular shunts.
      Pratt
      • Pratt F.H.
      The nutrition of the heart through the vessels of Thebesius and the coronary veins.
      performed vascular examination in a method similar to that of Thebesius and defined the vessels of Thebesius as vessels that “open from the ventricles and auricles into a system of fine branches that communicate with the coronary arteries and veins by means of capillaries, and with the veins—but not with the arteries—by passages of somewhat larger size.” The eponym “vessels of Wearn” is the preferred term to define any or multiple connections between the coronary arteries and heart chambers encompassing the arteriosinusoidal and arterioluminal vessels of the heart. Wearn was the first to provide a detailed histologic description of the vessels and recommended the term “vessel” instead of “artery,” because they may lose their arterial characteristics as they approach their terminations. The eponym “vessels of Thebesius” should be applied only to venular connections, because Thebesius studied venular connections to the cardiac chambers. I am empathetic to the plea of pediatric cardiologists and ask that others collaborate to produce accurate medical nomenclature.
      • Lurie P.R.
      The perspective of ventricular noncompaction as seen by a nonagenarian.
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      References

        • Wearn J.T.
        • Mettier S.R.
        • Klumpp T.G.
        • Zschiesche L.J.
        The nature of the vascular communications between the coronary arteries and the chambers of the heart.
        Am Heart J. 1933; 9: 143-164
        • Grant R.T.
        An unusual anomaly of the coronary vessels in the malformed heart of a child.
        Heart. 1926; 13: 273-284
        • Grollman J.H.
        Re: Three major coronary artery-to-left ventricular shunts.
        Cardiovasc Intervent Radiol. 1998; 21: 183
        • Pratt F.H.
        The nutrition of the heart through the vessels of Thebesius and the coronary veins.
        Am J Physiol. 1898; 1: 86-103
        • Lurie P.R.
        The perspective of ventricular noncompaction as seen by a nonagenarian.
        Cardiol Young. 2008; 18: 243-249

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