Sydney Ringer (1835-1910) was a British clinician, physiologist and pharmacologist.
He was best known for his extensive work on inorganic salt solutions and the effect on the heart.
Ringer’s ‘discovery’ of his solution (Ringer’s solution) arose after his lab assistant mistakenly substituted tap water from the New River Water Co. for distilled water whilst experimenting on frog hearts. The replaced water had a calcium concentration 38.3 PPM ~1M
Ringer noted that a solution perfusing a frog’s heart must contain sodium, potassium and calcium salts in a definite proportion if the heart is to be kept beating.
- 1834 – Born in Norwich, England. His father died young, leaving his mother to bring up their three sons
- 1854 – With the generous help of friends and relatives, he began his formal medical studies at University College, London
- 1860 – Obtained a Bachelor of Medicine degree from University College Hospital, London
- 1863 – Gained a higher degree of Doctor of Medicine and MRCP (Membership of the Royal College of Physicians)
- 1861 – 1900 – Physician and physiologist at University College Hospital, London
- 1869 – 1897 – Wrote A Handbook of Therapeutics which ran through 14 editions and was translated into 10 languages
- 1870 – Elected Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of London (FRCP)
- 1882 – ‘Discovery’ of Ringer’s solution
- 1889 – Elected to Fellowship of the Royal Society (FRS)
- 1910- Died on October 14th from a cerebrovascular lesion, aged 76
- Ringers Solution (1882) solution of salts dissolved in water to create an isotonic solution relative to the body fluids of an animal.
- Ringers Lactate (1932) – Alexis Frank Hartmann modified Ringer’s solution by adding sodium lactate to it with the idea of combating acidosis in his young patients.
Key Medical Attributions:
The ability of a small volume of Ringer solution to sustain an excised frog heart-nerve preparation enabled Otto Loewi and Sir Henry Hallett Dale to propose the chemical transmission of nerve impulses (1936 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine).
A mixture containing 100cc saline [0.75% NaCl], 5cc sodium bicarbonate [0.5%], 5cc calcium chloride [1 in 1082, i.e. approximately 0.1% Ca], with 1 cc potassium chloride [1%] makes an excellent artificial circulating fluid, for with this mixture the heart will continue beating perfectly.
[This solution equates to approximately (mm): total Na 133, KCl 1.34, NaHCO3 2.76 and CaCl2 1.25, a ‘recipe’ hardly bettered since.]
He was a very quiet and reserved man in private life having little time for social activities. His lifestyle was ‘early to bed and early to rise’ and much of his scientific work was done in the mornings before commencement of his clinical duties.
- Ringer S. On the temperature of the body as a means of diagnosis in phthisis (tuberculosis). London : Walton and Maberly 1865.
- Ringer S. On the antagonism between pilocarpine and extract of amanita muscaria. London. 1879.
- Ringer S. Regarding the Action of Hydrate of Soda, Hydrate of Ammonia, and Hydrate of Potash on the Ventricle of the Frog’s Heart. J Physiol. 1882 Jan; 3(3-4): 195–202.6
- Ringer S. Concerning the Influence exerted by each of the Constituents of the Blood on the Contraction of the Ventricle. J Physiol. 1882 Aug; 3(5-6): 380–393
- Ringer S. A further Contribution regarding the influence of the different Constituents of the Blood on the Contraction of the Heart. J Physiol. 1883 Jan; 4(1): 29–42.3
- Ringer S. A handbook of therapeutics. London, Lewis 1888.
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