René Leriche

Henri Marie René Leriche (1879–1955)

Henri Marie René Leriche (1879–1955) was a French surgeon.

Often described as the father of vascular surgery

Tout chirurgien porte en lui un petit cimetière dans lequel il va de temps en temps faire oraison. Cimetière d’amertume et d’hysope, auquel il demande la raison de certains de ses insuccès” René Leriche [La philosophie de la chirurgie, 1951]

Every surgeon carries about him a little cemetery, in which from time to time he goes to pray, a cemetery of bitterness and regret, of which he seeks the reason for certain of his failures.” Translation, Roberta Hurwitz

  • Born 12 October 1879 Roanne, France
  • 1905 – Graduated medicine, University of Lyon
  • 1913 – Periaterial sympathectomy [Leriche operation]
  • 1924-1939 – Lead surgeon at Surgical Clinic A, University of Strasbourg
  • 1937 – Chair of Experimental Medicine in the College de France
  • First director of the national Medical Board (ordre des médecins)
  • 1939 – Lister Medal for contributions to surgical science. Memorial Lecture ‘The Listerian Idea’
  • Died 28 December 1955 Cassis, France

Medical Eponyms
Leriche operation (1913)

Periaterial sympathectomy. Leriche noted the initial segmentary contractions of larger arteries when their adventition was stripped away and the subsequent distal vasodilatation.

Leriche syndrome (1940)

(aortoiliac occlusive disease) – ‘obliteration‘ of the abdominal aorta at the bifurcation into the common iliac arteries. Impotence, buttock claudication, absent/reduced limb pulses secondary to saddle embolus or atherosclerosis at the aortic bifurcation. [1940;48:601-604]

Major Publications

  • Jarrett F. René Leriche (1879-1955): father of vascular surgery. Surgery. 1979;86(5):736-741. [PMID 386542]
  • Jung A. René Leriche 1879–1955. Surgery. 1956;39(6):1047-1049
  • Lee WJ, Cheng YZ, Lin HJ. Leriche syndrome. Int J Emerg Med. 2008 Sep; 1(3): 223. [PMC2657285]
  • Biography. Leriche, René (1879 – 1955). Plarr’s Lives of the Fellows Online. Royal College of Surgeons of England.
  • Tan SY, Kwok E. René Leriche (1879–1955): Innovator of vascular surgery. Singapore Med J. 2015 Apr; 56(4): 184–185. [PMC4415095]
  • Ioncioaia B, Bud IT, Muresan M. René leriche and the development of 20th century surgery. Clujul Med. 2016; 89(1): 176–180. [PMC4777462]


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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