In fact, in the midst of a suspended respiration, and an impared condition of some other functions, one vital property is augmented. This is the irritability, and especially the irritability of the left side of the heart. The left side of the heart, which is, in the hybernating animal, in its state of activity, as in all the other mammalia, only arterio-contractile, becomes veno-contractile.
Goodwyn conceived that the heart ceased to act because the left side, being only arterio-contractile, was incapable of being stimulated by venous blood; but this idea was fully disproved by the experiments of Bichat, which render it certain that the blood stimulates the ventricles not by its quality, but by its bulk. (Goodwyn on the Connex. of Life with Resp. pp. 82, 83; and Bichat, Sur la Vie et la Mort.)
Origin of arterio-contractile
- Coined by Dr Marshall Hall, first introduced on the 8th of March, 1832 in the reading of his paper entitled “On the Inverse Ratio which subsists between Respiration and Irritability in the Animal Kingdom; and on Hybernation” before the Royal Society of London for the Improvement of Natural Knowledge: arterio- + contractile. Despite the initial uptake of this term, it failed to thrive, and is unattested beyond 1835, a mere three years after its coining.