Emilio (Emil) Anthony Naclerio (1915-1985) was an Italian-American Thoracic Surgeon.
Famously part of a trio that operated on Martin Luther King Jr. in 1958.
Eponymously remebered for Naclerio’s V sign in spontaneous oesophageal rupture. A V shaped collection of air in the left lower mediastinum.
- Born on 21 March, 1915 – Brooklyn, Kings, New York
- Educated in Marquette Medical School, Wisconsin
- 1950 – Harlem Hospital
- 1958 – Operated on Martin Luther King Jr. along with Dr John Cordice and Dr Leo Maitland following attempted assassination by Izola Curry
- Died on October 14, 1985
Naclerio ‘V sign’ (1957)
Radiographic evidence of a V-shaped collection of air in the left lower mediastinum, along the diaphragm and seen in pneumomediastinum.
First described by Naclerio in two case reports as “the Iinear roentgen density corresponded to the fascial pIanes of the mediastinal and diaphragmatic pleurae in the region of the Iower esophagus” in relation to spontaneous oesophageal rupture.
A second V sign was later described as gas outlining the superior margins of the brachiocephalic veins at their confluence.
- Naclerio EA. Indications for pulmonary resection, special reference to extent of operation. Am J Surg. 1949 Feb;77(2):140-51.
- Naclerio EA. Indications for pulmonary resection. Am J Surg. 1955 Jan;89(1):16-23.
- Naclerio EA. The V sign in the diagnosis of spontaneous rupture of the esophagus (an early roentgen clue). Am J Surg. 1957 Feb;93(2):291-8. [V sign]
- Naclerio EA. Bronchopulmonary Diseases. 1957
- Naclerio EA. Penetrating wounds of the heart. experience with 249 patients. Dis Chest. 1964 Jul;46:1-22.
- Naclerio EA. Chest trauma. Clin Symp. 1970;22(3):75-109.
- Naclerio EA. Chest injuries; physiologic principles and emergency management. 1971
In 1958, the operation to save Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. life was planned by the trio of surgeons of Naclerio, Cordice and Maitland. They however delayed the surgery to await Dr Aubré Maynard. Maynard was Chief of the Surgery at the time, but had less knowledge of thoracic surgery than Naclerio.
During the surgery it is stated that Maynard attempted to pull out the blade prematurely. Maynard was given the opportunity to remove the blade by trio as a sign of respect. After the blade had been removed Maynard left the operating room to discuss the success leaving the trio to close King’s chest.
Later it is stated Maynard made a number of fabrications about the details of the operation.
Naclerio went on to have a long friendship with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. often exchanging letters.
- Maynard AL. Surgeons to the poor : the Harlem Hospital story. 1978
- Pearson H. When Harlem nearly killed King: the 1958 stabbing of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 2002
- Martin D. Dr. W.V. Cordice Jr., 94, a Surgeon Who Helped Save Dr. King, Dies. NYTimes 2014
- Celona L, Jaeger M. Inside the friendship between MLK Jr. and the surgeon who saved him. NY Post. 2018
- NYC doctor posthumously honored for saving Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Manhattan. Eyewitness News 2022
- Cyrlak D, Milne EN, Imray TJ. Pneumomediastinum: a diagnostic problem. Crit Rev Diagn Imaging. 1984;23(1):75-117.
- Bejvan SM, Godwin JD. Pneumomediastinum: old signs and new signs. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1996 May;166(5):1041-8.
- Sinha R. Naclerio’s V sign. Radiology. 2007 Oct;245(1):296-7.
- Sliker CW, Steenburg SD, Archer-Arroyo K. Emergency radiology eponyms: part 2–Naclerio’s V sign to Fournier gangrene. Emerg Radiol. 2013 Jun;20(3):185-95.
- Komaru Y, Maeda A. Naclerio’s V sign and continuous diaphragm sign after endoscopy. BMJ Case Rep. 2018 Sep 21
- Bell DJ. Naclerio V sign. Radiopaedia
BA MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM. Associate Professor Curtin Medical School, Curtin University. 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 |