Jacques Calvé

Jacques Calvé (1875–1954)

Jacques Calvé (1875 – 1954) was a French orthopaedic surgeon.

Main medical interest was the treatment of tuberculosis of the spine and one of the pioneers in the radiologic evaluation of the skeletal system

Calvé was the first to describe the radiological features of histiocytosis X of the vertebral body (although he interpreted it as a special form of tuberculosis of the spine)

Eponymously affiliated with ‘maladie de Calvé’ (Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease) – Calvé studied 500 radiographs of children being treated for tuberculosis of the hip joint – found 10 cases of non-tuberculous flattening and fragmentation of the femoral capital epiphysis ‘pseudocoxalgia’. Common symptoms: hip pain, limping, restricted movement in the hip-joint especially in regard to abduction, and a palpable enlargement of the caput femoris.


Biography
  • Born August 18, 1875 in Paris, France
  • 1906 – MD, University of Paris. Thesis: De la Coxalgie double chez l’enfant
  • 1906-1920 Hôpital Maritime in Berck Plage. 1,100 bed hospital specializing in the long-term care of patients with bone and joint tuberculosis
  • 1925 – Director, Hôpital Maritime
  • Died March 10, 1954, Berck-sur-Mer

Medical Eponyms
Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease (LCPD); (1910)

LCPD develops as a result of proximal femoral epiphysis ischaemia of unknown aetiology; aka avascular necrosis (AVN) of the proximal femoral head.

The disease is usually insidious in onset and may occur after an injury to the hip. It is most common in male children aged 4-10 years, unilateral in 90% of cases. In cases which are bilateral, the joints are involved successively, not simultaneously.

In 1910, Legg, Calvé and Perthes independently reported a hip disease in children with a symptomatic picture resembling that described by Henning Waldenström in 1909. These authors believed the process to be unrelated to tuberculosis:

Calvé Studied 500 radiographs of children being treated for tuberculosis of the hip joint – found 10 cases of non-tuberculous flattening and fragmentation of the femoral capital epiphysis. Common symptoms: hip pain, limping, restricted movement in the hip-joint especially in regard to abduction, and a palpable enlargement of the caput femoris. Calvé suggested that rickets could be the cause of this newly discovered condition.

En résumé, tous ces cas se ramènent à une arthrite transitoire, de durée courte, se développant sur des sujets porteurs de déformations de l’extrémité supérieure du fémur: coxa vara, hypertrophie de la tête fémorale, atrophie lamellaire du noyeau osseux de l’épiphyse, avec conservation des rapports normaux de surfaces articulaires. Comment faut-il interpréter des lésions osseuses?

Il est naturel, dès qu’il s’agit d’une arthrite chronique de la hanche, de songer à une coxo-tuberculose… A notre avis , ce diagnostic nous parait erroné et nous le rejetons pour plusieurs raisons…

Nous nous trouvons, en effet, en présence d’une ostéogenèse anormale et retardée, ce qui parait plutôt être du ressort du rachitisme. Sans avoir la présomption de conclure, nous avouerons que, jusqu’à plus ample informé, cette solution nous semble la plus plausible.

Calvé J. 1910

In summary, all the cases point to a transitory arthritis, of short duration, which develops in those who carry a deformity of the upper extremity of the femur: coxa vara, hypertrophy of the femoral head, atrophy of the lamellar bony nucleus of the epiphysis, with conservation of the normal relations of the articular surfaces. How must one interpret these bony lesions?

It is natural, as soon as one speaks of a chronic arthritis of the hip, to think of a coxo-tuberculosis… In our opinion, this diagnosis seems erroneous, and we reject it for several reasons…

For we are presented with an abnormal and retarded osteogenesis, which appears rather to be the consequence of rickets. Without making the presumption to conclude, we must admit that until we are more informed, this solution seems to us the most plausible.

Calvé J. 1910

Calvé J. 1910 Fig 5, 6
X-ray 31/2 year old in 1906. Fig 5, 6 Calvé 1910

Calvé disease – ‘vertebra plana‘ as an aseptic necrosis of bone involving a single vertebral body of the spinal column (1925)

In 1925, Calvé described the case of a 7-year-old patient with a ‘osteochondritis’ of a vertebral body. He determined the condition was ‘to the spinal column what coxa plana is to the hip, and what Koehler’s disease is to the foot‘. He laid down the criteria of the disease:

  • total collapse of only one vertebra
  • no involvement of the intervertebral disc
  • the intervertebral space wider than normal at least by one-third and
  • increased density of the involved vertebra

Buchman later (1927) suggested the name ‘vertebra plana‘ for the condition.


Calvé operation – method to aspirate the contents of a tuberculous abscess (Pott paraplegia) without sinus formation (1917)


Major Publications

References

Biography

  • Schulitz KP, Dustmann HO. Jacques Calvé (1875-1954). In: Morbus Perthes: Ätiopathogenese, Differentialdiagnose, Therapie und Prognose. Springer. 1991: 10-13
  • Beighton P, Beighton G. The Person Behind the Syndrome. Springer 1997 XXXX
  • Schulitz KP, Niggemeyer O. Jacques Calvé. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1996; 21(7): 886-890.
  • Beighton P, Beighton G. Calvé Jaques. The Person Behind the Syndrome. Springer 1997: 38-39
  • Mostofi SB. Jacques Calvé. Who’s Who in Orthopedics. Springer; 2005: 51
  • Bibliography. Calvé, Jacques. WorldCat Identities

Eponymous terms


eponymictionary CTA

eponym

the person behind the name

Resident medical officer in emergency medicine MB ChB (Uni. Dundee)  MRCS Ed. Avid traveller, yoga teacher, polylinguist with a passion for discovering cultures.

Emergency physician MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM with a passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and informatics. Asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | vocortex |

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