John Cheyne (1777 – 1836) was a Scottish surgeon and physician.

Cheyne was tutored at the University of Edinburgh by Alexander Monro secundus (1733-1817), who described the interventricular foramen

In 1812 Cheyne distinguished subarachnoid haemorrhage from intracerebral haemorrhage, and provided one of the first illustrations of subarachnoid haemorrhage.

In 1818 he described aorta steatomatous and wrote extensively on laryngotracheitis and hydrocephalus in children. Eponymously affiliated with Cheyne-Stokes Respiration (1818)

Cheyne suffered from depression towards the end of his life and wrote ‘Essays on the parital derangement of the mind’ as a therapeutic exercise

  • Born February 3, 1777 Leith
  • 1792-1795 Medical school, University of Edinburgh. His father being a surgeon, Cheyne was able to commence medical studies at 15 and graduate at 18…
  • 1795-1799 Surgeon with an artillery corps. Served at the Battle of Vinegar Hill
  • 1799-1810 Worked as a surgeon with his father
  • 1811-1817 Physician to Meath Hospital, Dublin
  • 1813-1819 Professor of Medicine at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
  • 1820 – Physician General to British forces in Ireland. Lecturer in War Medicine
  • Died January 31, 1836

Medical Eponyms
Cheyne-Stokes Respiration (1818)

Abnormal pattern of breathing which oscillates between hyperventilation and apnoea seen in the end stages of illness

Hippocrates first described Cheyne-Stokes breathing over two millennia earlier as ‘respiration throughout like that of a man recollecting himself, and rare, and large’.

Major Publications


Eponymous terms


the person behind the name

Emergency physician MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM with a 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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