Apoplexy, cerebrovascular disease, and stroke: Historical evolution of terms and definitions
ABSTRACT. The long-standing concept of “apoplexy' can be followed from Antiquity, passing through the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and reaching the Modern era and the present day, with the new designation of “stroke”. The definition of “apoplexy” can be divided, by the history of autopsy, into a period predating this practice, which spanned from Antiquity until the Renaissance, with a relatively stable clinically-based umbrella concept, and an autopsy period of the Modern era, when the condition was subdivided into several subtypes. Thus, it took about 2,500 years assembling the numerous pieces of information to achieve a fairly well-defined picture. The “stroke” concept inherited the information developed for “apoplexy”, incorporating all historical acquisitions to form the current state of this knowledge.