Charles Aston Key (1793 – 1849) was an English surgeon.
Key introduced the operation for division of the prostate gland in lithotomy with the straight staff, using only a single knife in 1824. The success of his operations established his reputation as a surgeon
Eponymously affiliated with the Key-Hodgkin murmur (1827)
- Born 6 October 1793, London
- 1815-1818 apprenticeship with Sir Astley Paston Cooper
- 1845 – elected Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons
- Died of cholera 23 August 1849
Key-Hodgkin murmur (1827)
A diastolic murmur of aortic regurgitation with a raspy quality likened to the sound of ‘a saw cutting through wood‘ (bruit de scie). Hodgkin correlated the murmur with retroversion of the aortic valve leaflets seen post mortem.
Hodgkin and Key were contemporaries working in London, at Guy’s Hospital. Key is credited with first drawing Hodgkin’s attention to the problem of aortic incompetence. Hodgkin addressed this association in his open letters to Key which he read in February 1827 before the Hunterian Society
The impulse of the heart was not particularly feeble, but was considerably diffused; the sound very general over the whole left side, and nearly the whole of the right side of the chest, with the exception of the superior part of the chest. Each contraction appeared lengthened, accompanied with a purring, thrilling or sawing kind of noiseIn Hodgkin’s 1827 letter, as described by his friend J.H. Pickford.
- Key CA. A short treatise on the section of the prostate gland in lithotomy; with an explanation of a safe and easy method of conducting the operation on the principles of Cheselden. 1824.
- Key CA. Case of Axillary Aneurism successfully treated by tying the Subclavian Artery. Med Chir Trans. 1827;13(Pt 1):1-272.6.
- Key CA. On the Ulcerative Process in Joints. Med Chir Trans. 1833;18(Pt 1):208-49.
- Key CA. A memoir on the advantages and practicability of dividing the stricture in strangulated hernia on the outside of the sac : with cases and drawings. 1833.
- Key CA. Further Remarks on the Ulcerative Process. Med Chir Trans. 1835;19:134-51.
- Key CA. The anatomy and surgical treatment of abdominal hernia. Philadelphia, Lea & Blanchard. 1844.
- Key CA. Report on primary syphilitic cases. 1840.
- Treves F. The Surgeon in the Nineteenth Century. Boston Med Surg J 1900; 143:197-203
- Biography: Key, Charles Aston (1793 – 1849). Plarr’s Lives of the Fellows Online. Royal College of Surgeons of England.
- Mulcahy R. The early descriptions of aortic incompetence. Br Heart J. 1962 Sep;24(5):633-6.
- Ma I, Tierney LM. Name that murmur–eponyms for the astute auscultician. N Engl J Med. 2010 Nov 25;363(22):2164-8.
- Robbins A, Zhang G. Name that murmur. LITFL 2019
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