William Dressler

William (Wilhelm) Dressler (1890 – 1969) was a Jewish-American cardiologist.

Dr W Dressler published numerous articles and textbooks on cardiology and electrocardiography. Dressler’s Clinical Cardiology (1942) became a classic book of cardiological diagnosis.

As Director of Cardiology at Maimonides Medical Centre, Dressler identified a post-myocardial infarction syndrome eponymously ascribed with his name – Dressler Syndrome (1956).

He is also eponymous with Dressler beat (1952), which he described as a ‘ventricular fusion beat‘ in the presence of paroxysmal ventricular tachycardia.

  • Born 9 August 1890, Vienna, Austria
  • 1915 – Achieved MD qualification, University of Vienna, Austria
  • 1934 – Cardiologist in Vienna
  • 1938 – Emigrated to the USA as a refugee
  • 1938-67 – Director of the cardiology clinic and electrocardiographic laboratory at Maimonides Medical Center, New York, USA
  • Died 10 October 1969, New York, USA

Medical Eponyms
Dressler beat (1952)

A ‘ventricular fusion beat’ in the presence of paroxysmal ventricular tachycardia.

Dressler syndrome (1956)

Pericarditis occurring up to 10 weeks following a myocardial infarction, also referred to as post myocardial infarction syndrome (PMIS)


Note: Dressler syndrome (1854) – intermittent haemoglobinuria associated with haemolytic disorders was described by Lucas A Dressler. (Dressler LA. Ein Fall von intermittirender Albuminurie und Chromaturie. Archiv für pathologische Anatomie und Physiologie und für klinische Medicin. 1854;6:264-266)

Despite later publishing research on the success of cardiac pacemakers, Dr W Dressler was initially reluctant to his Maimonides Medical Centre colleague’s (Dr A Kantrowitz) idea of implanting a self-made pacemaker into his patient with Adams-Stokes syndrome. Dressler was said to have approached the hospital director to dismiss the pacemaker insertion, stating “that man [Kantrowitz] is too much. He wants to put a battery in my patient!”

Major Publications



Eponymous terms

eponymictionary CTA


the person behind the name

Doctor in Australia. Keen interest in internal medicine, medical education, and medical history.

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