Anthony Bassler

Anthony Bassler (1874 - 1959)

Anthony Bassler (1874 – 1959) was an American gastroenterologist.

Bassler was the first chairman of the section on Gastroenterology and Proctology of the American Medical Association; past president of the New York Gastroenterological Association (which he founded); and past President of the National Gastroenterological Association.

He published 6 text books and more than 300 monographs dealing chiefly with digestive diseases and abdominal conditions. Eponymously remembered for his description of Bassler sign in 1913, an examination method to assist in diagnosing chronic appendicitis

  • Born on May 24, 1874 in New York Ciry, New York
  • 1898 – Graduated medicine, Bellevue Hospital Medical College
  • 1911 – Editor of the The American Journal of Gastroenterology with Dr. Lewis Brinton (1861-1929)
  • 1916 – Consulting gastroenterologist to Christ’s Hospital, New Jersey. Along with Lewis Brinton became editor of Proctologist and Gastroenterologist
  • 1918 – Professor of gastroenterology at Fordham University Medical School, New York and New York Polyclinic Medical School and Hospital
  • Co-editor of the Review of Gastroenterology which dedicated its November-December, 1939, issue to him in honor of his sixty-fifth birthday; Honorary degree of doctor of laws from the Hahnemann Medical College of Philadelphia (1939); President of the National Gastroenterological Association; American President of the International Society of Gastroenterology, which he helped organize, and for which France gave him the Legion of Honor; first president, the Endocrine Society, and the American Roentgen Ray Society;
  • Died on August 20, 1959 aged 85

Medical Eponyms
Bassler sign (1913)

Bassler described his method for compressing the appendix to assist in diagnosing chronic appendicitis. He proposed that his test was most useful in obese patients and in patients where percussion could not identify the caecum.

When the thumb has been sunk about half-way down to the back of the abdominal cavity, it is swung to the right of the patient at a right angle to the downward pressure line. This pinches the appendix against the iliacus muscle and unyielding structures under and at the side of it, and usually elicits pain or tenderness. It is well, having done this in the mid-distance between the anterior superior spine and the umbilicus and not having obtained tenderness, to move the thumb down about one-half inch, performing it again, and so on downward until one has reached almost to the brim of the pelvis.

The same procedure on the left side serves as a control. By means of this method of downward and then right lateral pressure it is possible to elicit tenderness in the average case of chronic appendicitis.

Bassler 1913
Bassler sign chronic appendicitis 1913 Anthony Bassler (1874 - 1959)
A. shows pressure on a line midway between the umbilicus and the anterior superior spine of the ileum on the right side, the latter marked with a black dot. B. the swinging of the thumb to the right of the patient, and pinching the appendix against the iliacus muscle. Patient viewed down the right side, head to the left of photograph. Bassler 1913: 207

Major Publications



Eponymous terms


BA MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM. Emergency physician, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.  Passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | Twitter |

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