René-Théophile-Hyacinthe Laennec (1781-1826) was a French physician.
Laennec gave cirrhosis its name from the Greek word kirrhos, meaning tawny yellow. He was the first to lecture on and coin the term mélanose (from the Greek for black) in 1804. Now better known as melanoma
Laennec invented the stethoscope in 1816
- Born February 17, 1781 in Quimper, France
- 1801 – Studied medicine at École pratique
- 1802 – Published the first of 12 papers as a medical student. Subjects included peritonitis, amenorrhea, the prostate gland, liver diseases, and tubercular lesions
- 1804 – Thesis on the relationship of the ancient Greek Hippocratic doctrine to practical medicine
- 1804 – Elected to the Societe de I’Ecole de Medicine
- 1822 – Chair and professor of medicine at the College de France; Head of the Medical Clinic at Hôpital de la Charité.
- 1823 – Elected to the Academy of Medicine
- 1824 – Légion d’Honneur
- Died August 13, 1826 Ploaré, France
- Laennec’s cirrhosis (1819) – cirrhosis without jaundice due to malnutrition and alcoholism
- Laennec-Hamman symptom. (1831)
- Laennec’s pearls – archaic – sputum produced by asthmatics
Key Medical Attributions
- Laennec gave cirrhosis its name from the Greek word kirrhos, meaning tawny yellow. British pathologists John Browne (1642-1700) and Matthew Baillie (1761-1823) had previously provided more detailed descriptions, but not provided a memorable name.
- This term first appeared in a footnote in 1819 in the first volume of his classic text ‘De l’auscultation médiate 1819;I;368-369 – the term has survived despite the term being dropped from the footnote in it’s English translation in 1827.
- Laennec was the first to lecture on and coin the term mélanose (from the Greek for black) in 1804 and published findings in 1806 [1806;II;24-26]. He differentiated melanoma from black tuberculose lesions or carbon deposits in the lung and recognized that melanotic lesions in the lungs were the result of metastatic melanoma.
- Dupuytren took exception to Laennec’s work as it gave insufficient credit to himself leading to a bitter series of articles over the original ‘discovery‘ of melanoma Dupuytren [1804;II;13-24]
- Laennec RTH. Propositions sur la doctrine d’Hippocrate, relativement à la médecine pratique. 1804
- Laennec RTH. Sur les maelanoses. Bulletins de la Faculté de médicine de Paris. 1806; II; 24-26. [Dupuytren riposte in the same journal: Anatomie pathologique 1806; II; 13-24]
- Laennec RTH. Note sur l’anatomie pathologique. Journal de médecine, chirurgie, pharmacie. 1805;IX:360. [Duputren riposte in the same journal: Observations 1805; IX: 441-446 and then Nouvelles Observations 1805; X: 96-102]
- Laennec RTH. De l’auscultation médiate, ou, Traité du diagnostic des maladies des poumons et du coeur, fondé principalement sur ce nouveau moyen d’exploration. 1819 [Tome II] [English Translation A treatise on the diseases of the chest and on mediate auscultation, John Forbes 1821]
- Laennec RTH. Traité de l’auscultation médiate : et des maladies des poumons et du coeur. [Tome II] [Tome III]. Paris: Chaudé. 1826
- Sakula A. RTH Laënnec 1781–1826 his life and work: a bicentenary appreciation. Thorax 1981;36:81–90.
- Davies MK, Hollman A. Rene Theophile-Hyacinthe Laënnec (1781–1826) Heart 1996;76:196
- Roguin A. Rene Theophile Hyacinthe Laënnec (1781–1826): The Man Behind the Stethoscope. Clin Med Res. 2006 Sep; 4(3): 230–235.
- Lescroel Desprez TE. Thèse: Dissertation sur la mélanose. 1831 [Melanoma]
- Duffin JM. Why does cirrhosis belong to Laennec? CMAJ. 1987 Sep 1;137(5):393-6.
- Denkler K, Johnson J. A Lost Piece of Melanoma History. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. 1999;104:2149–2153
- Jay V. The legacy of Laënnec. Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2000 Oct;124(10):1420-1.
- Daniel TM. René Théophile Hyacinthe Laënnec and the founding of pulmonary medicine. Int J Tuberc Lung Dis. 2004 May;8(5):517-8.
- Karamanou M et al. René-Théophile-Hyacinthe Laennec (1781-1826) and the description of metastatic pulmonary melanoma. J BUON. 2015 Jan-Feb;20(1):354-6
BA MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM. Associate Professor Curtin Medical School, Curtin University. 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 |