Louis Vaquez

Louis Henri Vaquez (1860-1936)

Louis Henri Vaquez (1860-1936) was a French physician

Vaquez, favourite pupil of Carl Pierre Édouard Potain (1825-1901), who introduced France to the use of the electrocardiogram. He was a master of clinical cardiolog; founder and editor of the journal Archives des maladies du coeur, vaissaux et du sang.

Known for his work in the field of haematology (making several contributions in the study of leukaemia) and his research of heart disease (particularly on cardiac arrhythmia, hypertension and the pathophysiology of Stokes-Adams syndrome). He also developed radiological examination of the heart and aorta by administering oubain intravenously

He is famous for describing polycythaemia vera in 1892 – ‘a special form of persistent polycythaemia, associated neither with the cyanosis of high altitude nor of congenital heart disease‘. Known as Vaquez disease or Vaquez-Osler disease after the description by Sir William Osler (1849–1919) in 1903.

  • Born on August 27, 1860 in Paris
  • Completed secondary studies at the lycée Condorcet. He then studied medicine at the Faculté de médecine de Paris
  • 1885-1889 interne des hôpitaux; médaillé d’argent (1889)
  • 1890 – MD defending thèse ‘De la thrombose cachectique
  • 1891 – head of the pathological physiology work in la clinique médicale de la Charité; clinicien en chef (1892)
  • 1892 – First to describe the blood disorder polycythaemia vera
  • 1895 – Médecin des hôpitaux; médecin du bureau central. First at la Maison de santé, then à Saint Antoine (1902), and finally à la Pitié en 1920
  • 1898 – Professeur agrégé; professeur de pathologie médicale replacing Pierre Joseph Teissier (1864-1932)
  • 1908 – Founder and editor of the journal Archives des maladies du coeur, vaissaux et du sang
  • 1918 – Professor of clinical medicine; elected a member of the Académie de Médecine
  • 1920 – Professeur de clinique thérapeutique à la Faculté de médecine de Paris replacing Albert Edouard Charles Robin (1847-1928)
  • 1927 – Légion d’honneur
  • 1931 – Professeur honoraire; médecin honoraire des hôpitaux de Paris.
  • Died on April 15, 1936 in Paris

Medical Eponyms
Vaquez-Osler disease (1892)

[aka Vaquez Disease; Erythraemia; Polycythemia Vera]

Acquired myeloproliferative disorder characterized by an elevated absolute red blood cell mass caused by uncontrolled red blood cell production, frequently associated with uncontrolled white blood cell and platelet production.

Vaquez-Cottet test (1912)

A test for investigating the permeability of the kidney for water.

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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