Key–Hodgkin murmur: diastolic murmur of aortic regurgitation with a raspy quality, likened to the sound of ‘a saw cutting through wood‘. Hodgkin correlated the murmur with retroversion of the aortic valve leaflets seen post mortem.

Hodgkin and Key were contemporaries working in London, at Guy’s Hospital. Key is credited with first drawing Hodgkin’s attention to the problem of aortic incompetence. Hodgkin addressed this association in his open letters to Key which he read in February 1827 before the Hunterian Society

My Dear friend. Thou will probably recollect having pointed out to me, a few months ago, a particular state of the valves of the aorta, which, by admitting of their falling back towards the ventricle, unfits them for the performance of their function

Hodgkin 1827

The impulse of the heart was not particularly feeble, but was considerably diffused; the sound very general over the whole left side, and nearly the whole of the right side of the chest, with the exception of the superior part of the chest. Each contraction appeared lengthened, accompanied with a purring, thrilling or sawing kind of noise

In Hodgkin’s 1827 letter, as described by his friend J.H. Pickford.

Associated Persons

Alternative names
  • Hodgkin-Key sound
  • Hodgkin-Key murmur


Original articles

Review articles



the names behind the name

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 |

U.K trained doctor currently working in ED in Perth my interests include all things acute medicine.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.