John Henry Bryant

John Henry Bryant (1867-1906) was an English physician.

Bryant was a painstaking teacher and a man of strong personality, as well as a rugby player of county standard and a fast sprinter. Bryant lost his life to a sudden illness in 1906 at the age of 38. He is best remembered for his eponymous sign: The Blue Scrotum Sign of Bryant

  • Born June 4, 1867 Ilminster, Somerset
  • 1886-1890 MD, Guy’s Hospital Medical School. Beaney Prize and treasurer’s gold medals for medicine and surgery (1891)
  • MRCS, MRCP (1890), LRCP (1895), FRCP (1901)
  • Rugby: half-back, playing for Guy’s, Surrey County, and Richmond.
  • 1892-1898 Medical Registrar at Guy’s Hospital and demonstrator in pathological anatomy
  • 1898 – Assistant physician, Guy’s Hospital
  • 1901 – Publisher of ‘Guy’s Hospital Reports’
  • 1903 – Lecturer on materia medica and therapeutics
  • Died May 21, 1906

Medical Eponyms
Blue Scrotum Sign of Bryant (1903)

Scrotal ecchymosis associated with ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). Extravasation of blood in the retroperitoneum may lead to nontraumatic discoloration beneath intact penile or scrotal epithelium. Ecchymosis typically appears within 3 to 6 days after AAA rupture.

In these two articles Bryant correctly describes the diffuse nature of the atheromatous changes, the possible clinical presentation of AAA as apparent renal colic, and the scrotal and abdominal discolourations as diagnostic clues.

In one case blood was effused into the right spermatic cord, and the corresponding half of the scrotum was much ecchymosed…When blood is extravasated into the anterior abdominal wall ecchymoses may appear…

Bryant JH. Clin Jour. 1903;23:79

Most recorded cases of Bryant’s sign occur three to six days after onset of abdominal symptoms as noted by Pearlman (1940), Barratt-Boyes (1957) and Beebe (1958)

1987RM Ratzan et al, identified the correct historical attribution of lower abdominal/scrotal discolouration secondary to aortic aneurysmal disease as belonging to John Henry Bryant.

Major Publications



Eponymous terms


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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