Leo Schamroth

Professor Abraham Leo Schamroth (1924 – 1988) was a South African cardiologist.

Professor Schamroth Published over 300 papers and eight textbooks, mostly concerned with cardiology and electrocardiography. His book An Introduction to Electrocardiography, ran to eight editions, the last of which was published posthumously and edited by his son, Dr Colin Schamroth


  • Born 2 June 1924 in Antwerp, Belgium
  • 1929 – Family emigrated to Johannesburg, South Africa
  • 1948 – Medical degree, University of the Witwatersrand
  • 1949 – Internship at the ‘Non-European Hospital’ in Hillbrow, Johannesburg
  • 1952 – Member of the Royal College of Physicians (Glasgow)
  • 1956 – Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (Edinburgh)
  • 1958 – Baragwanath Hospital; and remained based at Baragwanath Hospital for the rest of his career.
  • 1972 – Chair of Medicine at the University of Witwatersrand; Chief Physician at Baragwanath
  • 1972 – Master Teacher Award by the American College of Cardiology
  • 1984 – Honorary MD, University of Cape Town
  • Claude Harris Leon Foundation Award of Merit for contribution to medical research and electrocardiography
  • 1987 – Retired (October 31)
  • Died 24 May 1988, Johannesburg, South Africa

Medical Eponyms

Schamroth’s window and sign (1976)

Schamroth suffered from rheumatic valve disease and developed infective endocarditis. He observed and described a simple sign to confirm the presence of clubbing of the fingers, now known as Schamroth’s sign by describing the sign on himself…

  • Schamroth’s window: the diamond-shaped gap formed when two opposing fingers are placed back to back
  • Schamroth’s sign: occurs in finger clubbing, when this window is obliterated and the distal angle formed by the two nails becomes wider

Key Medical Attributions

Major Publications



eponymictionary CTA


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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