The first clinical use of medicinal leeches


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Occurred approximately 2500 years ago. This small invertebrate is particularly

Valuable for plastic and reconstructive surgery since it can produce a small Bleeding wound that mimics a venous circulation in an area of compromised tissue. The leech produces a number of important substances which contribute to the Special property of the bite, including an anticoagulant, a local vasodilator and local Anaesthetic. And also leeches are used in cosmetics and pharmacology

Diseases of vessels, heart, chronic nonspecific diseases of lungs leading to heart and liver incompetence may be treated with hirudotherapy. At heart incompetence and chronic lung's heart the stagnation in a big circle of blood circulation takes place and this fact leads to functional liver incompetence. The unloading of a big circle of blood circulation at hirudotherapy (the improvement of blood circulation in region), the action of lipotropic enzymes, and the reduction of a hypostasis of liver-all these factors promote the improvement of patients health due to the complex influence of leeches secrets on organism.

Hirudotherapy as we see should be regarded not only as a preventive maintenance, but also as a method of treatment at ischemic heart disease, insult and other vascular pathologies, at diseases of exchange, at endocrine diseases, nervous diseases, at all inflammatory diseases and so on. As a result it's necessary to note that the sucker of hirudotherapy depends not only on biological properties of leeches secret but also from the experience of a doctor and joint actions of a patient and a doctor.

The medicinal leech is a segmented worm related to the earthworm. A rear suction cup helps it move and cling to a host. The front suction cup has three sharp jaws that make a Y-shaped bite.

It can feed for 30 minutes to 6 hours or more, taking in several times its body weight.

Leech saliva contains chemicals that prevent blood clotting, so a wound might bleed for hours after the leech is removed. Depending on wound size, a doctor might apply anywhere from one to six leeches

The leech was indispensable in 19th Century medicine for bloodletting, a practice believed to be a cure for anything from headaches to gout. Leeching was largely abandoned as medical science advanced, only occasionally being called upon to treat bruising and black eyes. However, the medicinal leech is making a comeback in modern medicine thanks in part to the work of Dr. Roy Sawyer, an American scientist who established the world's first leech farm

A 96-year-old woman was seen at her home for an ulcer with a very large serpiginous margin on the anterior surface of her neck that had not improved after leech application approximately 2 years previously

  • She had suffered from a chronic pruritic lesion on her jowl at the site where she had continuously used a nickel pin in her kerchief
  • This had continued for 5 years, with periodic improvement after using glucocorticosteroid ointments. Due to severe recalcitrant pruritic,

She resorted to the traditional therapy of using direct leech application on the surface of the plaque. The leech sucked the blood through the lesion for 6 hours after which it was forcibly removed. Prolonged bleeding was experienced for many days. The opening of the leech bite did not improve, and instead developed a very large serpiginous margin. The size of the ulcer gradually increased to 12.28 cm. The primary site of leech application was the midline of her jowl. The ulcer extended to the right side of the jowl, affecting all of the ipsilateral ear area. More evaluation and general examinations for underlying disease, such as diabetes mellitus and hypercholesterolemia were negative

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