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The Strange Case of “Dr. Anonymous” : A Mystery in the Early History of Coronary Artery Disease

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Tuesday, April 11, 2023
5:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Paul Kligfield, MD
Trent History of Medicine Lecture Series

William Heberden's classic description of angina pectoris in the 18th century contained no speculation as to its cause, now known to be coronary artery disease. Shortly after publication of his paper by the Royal College of Physicians, he received a letter from a man offering his body for autopsy to help search for a pathologic basis for his symptoms. Indeed, death occurred within weeks of his correspondence and autopsy was performed by John Hunter. The writer's clinical description of his own symptoms of angina and impending sudden death was so medically accurate that historians have identified him as an unknown physician, described as "Dr Anonymous." Nearly half a century of interest in the history of cardiology, combined with passion and serendipity in medical book collecting, have now uncovered the true identity of Heberden's previously unknown correspondent. Come and share the discovery.

Contact: Rachel Ingold