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Special article
DOI: 10.1016/j.medine.2021.05.002
Available online 6 June 2021
Regarding pandemics: Ibn Jatima from Almería anticipates the physiopathological concept of multi-organ failure in the 14th century
A propósito de pandemias: Ibn Jatima de Almería anticipa el concepto fisiopatológico de fallo multiorgánico en el siglo XIV
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M. Herrera Carranza
Ex-Jefe del Servicio de Cuidados Intensivos, Hospital Universitario Juan Ramón Jiménez, Huelva, Spain
Received 11 May 2020. Accepted 19 May 2020
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Table 1. Structure and contents of A treatise on the plague, by Ibn Jatima.
Abstract

In 1348, a pandemic known as Black Death devastated humanity and changed social, economic and geopolitical world order, as is the current case with SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. The doctor of the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada, Ibn-Jatima from Almeria, wrote “Treatise on the Plague”, in which it may be found epidemiological and clinical similarities between both plagues. In the context of Greco-Arab medicine, he discovered respiratory and contact contagion of Pestis and attributed its physiopathology to a lack of pulmonary cooling of the innate heat, generated in the heart and carried by the blood humor. The process described was equivalent to the oxygen transport system. Furthermore, it was supposed to generate toxic residues, such as free radicals, leading to an irreversible multiple organ failure (MOF), considered a mortality factor as in Covid-19. Due to its similitude, it would be the first antecedent of the MOF physiopathological concept, a finding that enriches the scientific and historical heritage of our clinical specialty.

Keywords:
Pandemic
Black death
Coronavirus
SARS-CoV-2
Multiple organ failure
Ibn Jatima
Al-Andalus Medicine
Medieval Medicine
Resumen

En el año 1348 una pandemia de la llamada Peste Negra asoló la humanidad y cambió el orden social, económico y geopolítico del mundo, tal como sucede actualmente con la causada por el coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. El médico del reino nazarí de Granada, Ibn-Jatima de Almería, escribió un “Tratado sobre la peste” en el cual se encuentran semejanzas epidemiológicas y clínicas entre ambas plagas. Así, dentro del contexto de la medicina greco-árabe, descubrió el contagio respiratorio y por contacto de la peste y atribuyó su fisiopatología a una insuficiente refrigeración pulmonar del calor innato generado en el corazón y vehiculizado por el humor sanguíneo, equivalente al sistema de trasporte de oxígeno, lo cual generaba residuos tóxicos, como los radicales libres, que abocaba a un fallo de múltiples órganos (FMO) irreversible, factor de mortalidad como en la Covid-19. Por su similitud, sería el primer antecedente conocido del concepto fisiopatológico de FMO, hallazgo que enriquece nuestro patrimonio científico-histórico de la especialidad.

Palabras clave:
Pandemia
Peste negra
Coronavirus
SARS-CoV-2
Fallo multiorgánico
Ibn Jatima
Medicina Al-Andalus
Medicina medieval

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