Harald Hirschsprung

Harald Hirschsprung (1830 – 1916) was a Danish pediatrician.

First to describe hypertrophic pyloric stenosis, which he found on autopsy of two infants. One of the first to describe pneumatic reduction of intussusception in 1867

Published on many areas of pediatrics, including pyloric stenosis, intussusception, acute rickets, rheumatic nodules, and constipation in the new-born infant from hypertrophy of the colon

Hirschsprung was known to strongly encourage free health care for poor children and treated patients independently of their diagnosis and social background.

  • Born 14 December 1830 in Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 1855 – Graduated after studying medicine in Copenhagen
  • 1861 – Doctoral thesis: oesophageal atresia.
  • 1870 – Head physician to the Queen Louise Children’s Hospital in Copenhagen – first pediatrician in Denmark
  • 1877 – Professor of diseases of children
  • Died 11 April 1916
Key Medical Attributions

First to provide definitive descriptions;

  • Intussusception: Discouraged by the high mortality of intussusception, Hirschsprung instituted a plan of controlled hydrostatic pressure reduction. By 1905 he was able to present a 35 percent mortality based on 107 personal cases in a disease that was usually fatal in over 80 per cent of cases.
  • Pyloric stenosis: In 1888 Hirschsprung provided the most definitive description in the autopsy findings in two infants [1888; 28: 61-68]
Medical Eponyms
Hirschsprung disease (1886)

Congenital disorder characterized by the presence of aganglionic colon. Also known as congenital idiopathic dilatation of the colon.

Hirschsprung presented detailed findings to the Berlin Pediatric Society regarding two children with severe constipation, due to dilation and hypertrophy of the colon. Both children died. Hirschsprung offered no specific treatment recommendation nor did he contribute in any other way towards solving the mystery around the disease that was named after him

Major Publications

Dr Chloe Roy MBChB, BMed Sci (hons). Surgeon in the making | LinkedIn |

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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