Central Venous Pressure PDF : Its Clinical Use and Role in Cardiovascular Dynamics
The first man to measure central venous pressure was Stephen Hales, in the 1st decade of the 18th century, although the exact date of his first experiment is uncertain. This measurement may have been made, while they were both at Cambridge, in co-operation with his friend William Stuckley, who was studying medicine there. In this first experiment they probably used a dog. Hales’ better known observations on the venous pressure of mares were made later when he was vicar at Teddington (Clark-Kennedy, 1929). His years at Cambridge had given him a clear understanding of hydrostatics and so he was careful to refer his pressure observations to the level of the left ventricle. This set an excellent example for those who were to follow but unfortunately, even today, venous pressures are sometimes quoted without the reference level being stated. Hales not only measured the pressure at the internal jugular vein during his experiments, but he also observed that the pressure rose when the mare struggled.