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Medical Terminology Daily (MTD) is a blog sponsored by Clinical Anatomy Associates, Inc. as a service to the medical community, medical students, and the medical industry. We will post a workweek daily medical or surgical term, its meaning and usage, as well as biographical notes on anatomists, surgeons, and researchers through the ages. Be warned that some of the images used depict human anatomical specimens.

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A Moment in History

Giovanni Batista Morgagni
Original image courtesy of National Institutes of Health

Giovanni Battista Morgagni

(1682 - 1771)

Italian anatomist, physician, and pathologist, Morgagni was born in the city of Forli. He started his medical studies at the University of Bologna, graduating in 1701 with a degree in Medicine and Philosophy. In 1712 he became a professor of anatomy at the University of Padua, Italy, 175 years after Andreas Vesalius. Morgagni was offered and accepted the Chair of Anatomy in 1715 at the University of Padua. Although Morgagni held a position at the anatomy department of the University of Padua, his name is associated mostly with his pathological studies.

Morgagni was interested in the works of Theophile Boneti (1620 - 1689), who started analyzing the correlation between post-mortem anatomical findings and diseases. He tried to establish a relation between the disease and the cause of death. In 1761 Morgagni published his most influential work "De Sedibus et Causis Morburum Per Anatomen Indagatis"  (On the Sites and Causes of Diseases, Investigated by Dissection). His work was essential for pathological anatomy to be recognized as a science in itself.

Morgagni was elected to become a member of several Academies of Science and Surgery: The Royal Society of London, The Academy of Science in Paris, The Berlin Academy of Science, and the Imperial Academy of Saint Petersburg in Russia. He is remembered today by several eponyms in anatomy and pathology:

• Morgagni's caruncle or lobe, referring to the miidle lobe of the prostate
• Morgagni's columns: the anal (or anorectal) colums
• Morgagni's concha, referring to the superior nasal concha
• Morgagni's foramina: two hiatuses in the respiratory diaphragm allowing for passage of the superior epigastric vessels
 Morgagni's hernia: an hiatal hernia through Morgagni's foramen, in the respiratory diaphragm
• Morgagni's ventricle: an internal pouch or dilation between the true and false vocal cords in the larynx
• Morgagni's nodules: the nodules at the point of coaptation of the leaflets (cusps) of the pulmonary valve. Erroneously called the "nodules of Arantius", which are only found in the aortic valve

Sources:
1. "A Note From History:The First Printed Case Reports of Cancer" Hadju, S.I. Cancer 2010;116:2493–8
2. "Giovanni Battista Morgagni" Klotz, O. Can Med Assoc J 1932 27:3 298-303
3. "Morgagni (1682 -1771)" JAMA 1964 187:12 948-950

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Inferior vena cava

The inferior vena cava (IVC) in one of the great vessels. It brings deoxygenated blood from the lower extremities, pelvis, and areas of the abdomen to the right atrium of the heart.

As a side note, the blood returning from the digestive system does not usually enter the IVC. It has it its own venous subsystem converging into the liver by way of the portal vein.

The IVC is formed by the confluence of the right and left common iliac veins. This lower end of the inferior vena cava is found anterior to the L4-L5 intervertebral disc. The IVC covers the superior aspect of the body of L5.

The IVC ascends to the right of the abdominal aorta and anterolateral to the vertebral bodies. It receives several branches as it passes superiorly:

• Common iliac veins
• Lumbar veins
• Gonadal veins
• Renal veins
• Right suprarenal veins
• Hepatic veins
• Inferior phrenic veins

Anterior view of the IVC. Gray, 1918
Image modified from the original by Gray (1918)

As the IVC passes posterior to the liver, it is hugged by the mass of the posterior aspect of the liver, it will receive the hepatics veins, and pass through the IVC hiatus of the respiratory diaphragm, entering immediately into the right atrium of the heart. At this point the IVC will present an incomplete venous valve known as the Eustachian valve, named after Bartolomeo Eustachius (c1500 - 1574).

Sources:
1. "Tratado de Anatomia Humana" Testut et Latarjet 8 Ed. 1931 Salvat Editores, Spain
2. "Gray's Anatomy" 38th British Ed. Churchill Livingstone 1995
3. "Reconstructive Anatomy: A Method for the Study of Human Structure: Arnold, M WB Saunders1968