Heinrich von Bamberger

Heinrich von Bamberger (1822 – 1888) was an Austrian physician.

  • Born 27 December 1822, Zwornarka near Prague
  • 1847 – MD
  • 1854 – Professor, University of Würzburg
  • 1858 – Birth of son, Dr Eugen von Bamberger (5 September 1858 – October 1921)
  • 1872 – Professor, University of Vienna
  • 1887 – Founded the journal Wiener klinische Wochenschrift (Viennese clinical weekly) with Ernst Fuchs
  • Died 9 November 1888 in Vienna

Medical Eponyms
Bamberger sign in Pericardial Effusion (1856)

In pericardial effusion pulmonary resonance is modified posteriorly. At the angle of the scapula is a small area of dulness, increased fremitus, and broncho-vesicular and bronchial breathing when the patient is sitting upright, which disappears when he leans forward (Bamberger’s sign).

Musser JH. 1894: 397 and 1913: 615

Bamberger originally described the sign in 1856 in his article Ueber Pericarditis in the chapter Beiträge zur Physiologie und Pathologie des Herzens. This long winded and rambling description was refined in his 1857 chapter on Krankheiten des Herzbeutels (Diseases of the pericardium) in Lehrbuch der Krankheiten des Herzens (Textbook of diseases of the heart).

Certainly Bamberger records the posterior chest signs of pericardial effusion, however it is much less clear that he wrote about the specific disappearance of these signs with positional change

Die linke Lunge wird bei jedem grossem Pericardialexsudate comprimirt. Am obern Lappen ist dies meist wenig beträchtlich und zeigt sich in der Regel durch einen tympanitischen, dabei aber gewöhnlich noch ziemlich vollen Schall unter dem linken Schlüsselbeine, der untere Lappen dagegen ist manchmal selbst bis zur Luftleere comprimirt. Fast in jedem Falle ist daher der Schall an der Rückenfläche des linken Thorax etwa vom untern Winkel des Schulterblatts bis nach abwärts gedämpft und manchmal selbst völlig leer. Das Athmungsgeräusch daselbst ist unbestimmt, oder kaum hörbar, seltener bronchial. Man darf diesen Zustand nicht mit den Erscheinungen eines gleichzeitigen pleuritischen Exsudats, welches allerdings nicht selten vorkommt, verwechseln, das Fühlbarsein der Stimmvibrationen, die bei blosser Compression durch den Herzbeutel nicht verschwinden, ist hier eines der wichtigsten differentiellen Zeichen.

Bamberger H, 1857: 120-121

The left lung is compromised with large pericardial effusions. The upper lobe is least affected as is demonstrated by a full tympanic sound under the left clavicle. The lower lobe on the other hand is compromised to the point of being compressed and without air. In almost every case, percussion of the left posterior thorax, below the lower border of the scapula is muffled or dull. The breath sounds at this level are barely audible and occasionally bronchial in nature. This condition should not be confused with the commonly occurring pleural effusion where these signs and tactile vocal fremitus do not disappear when compressed by pericardial exudates, and this is one of the most important differential signs.

Bamberger H, 1857: 120-121
Other medical eponyms

Bamberger albuminuria (1857) archaic term. Albuminuria occurring in later stages of severe anaemia. Ueber die Beziehungen zwischen Morbus Brightii und Herzkraukheiten. Archiv für pathologische Anatomie und Physiologie und für klinische Medicin. 1857]

Bamberger disease (1859) Clonic spasms of the leg muscles; echolalia; and abulia, observed in schizophrenia and hysteria. [Saltatorischer Reflekskrampf, eine merkwürdige Form von Spinal-Irritation. Wiener medizinische Wochenschrift, 1859]

Bamberger disease II (1872) [Concato disease; Bamberger-Concato disease] Progressive polyserositis with pleural and pericardial effusions, most commonly assoicated with TB. [Über zwei seltene Herzaffektionen mit Bezugnahme auf die Theorie des ersten Herztons. Wiener medizinische Wochenschrift, 1872]

Bambergergasse – Vienna, Donaustadt (22nd district). Named after Bamberger in 1954, previously known as Kubitschekweg

Major Publications



Pericardial effusion


the person behind the name

Associate Professor Curtin Medical School, Curtin University. Emergency physician MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM 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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