Shock at the millennium: I. Walter B. Cannon and Alfred Blalock

Nancy Kent Chambers, Timothy G. Buchman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Present management of shock derives, in part, from the classic investigations of Walter B. Cannon and Alfred Blalock. The intersections of their professional lives as recorded in the professional literature and in personal correspondence suggest that Blalock's pivotal studies of experimental shock were fueled, at least in part, by Cannon's inability to resolve the inconsistencies of the then-popular toxic theory of shock. Cannon appears to have substantially shaped Blalock's thought and work, initially as authority and competitor and later as colleague and friend. Blalock's experimental proof that injury precipitated obligatory locoregional fluid losses, the effects of which could be ameliorated by vigorous restoration of plasma volume, became a cornerstone of shock theory and therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)497-504
Number of pages8
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Correspondence
  • History
  • History of medicine
  • Research
  • Research personnel
  • Shock


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