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 August 9, 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 on October 10, 1969, New York, USA
Dressler beat (1952)
A ‘ventricular fusion beat’ in the presence of paroxysmal ventricular tachycardia.
In 1952, Dressler stated that “…reports in the literature on the occurrence of ventricular fusion beats in paroxysmal ventricular tachycardia are scant.” He reported six cases of paroxysmal ventricular tachycardia, which demonstrated variations of the ventricular complexes “transitional in shape to sinoauricular beats” and termed them ‘ventricular fusion beats‘.
Dressler syndrome (1956)
Fibrinous or fibrinohaemorrhagic secondary pericarditis that occurs as a result of injury to the heart or pericardium, either from myocardial infarction (MI) or cardiac surgery. Also known as post myocardial infarction syndrome
Initially described by Dressler as a condition developing as early as 2-3 days after a transmural infarct, due to underlying myocardial inflammation
Exact cause is unknown but appears to be an immune-mediated response to injury to pericardial cells with subsequent immune complex deposition in the pericardium causing an inflammatory response
De Winter T waves (1947)
Twenty-seven instances of myocardial infarction were studied, in which the first electrocardiogram was taken as early as one and one-quarter hours, and not later than twelve hours, after the onset of symptoms.
In twenty-five cases the earliest electrocardiographic signs of infarction were high ‘T‘ waves, the majority of which became inverted in the healing stage of infarction. In most of the cases the high T waves were no longer present twenty-four hours after the attack.
In five instances where the T waves persisted for several days, early mortality was as high as 60%, as compared with 14% in the cases where the high T waves underwent regression within twenty-four hours.
In five cases (18%), high T waves were not associated with abnormal elevation of S-T, nor with significant changes in QRS. Thus, they represented the leading diagnostic sign in the early stage of myocardial infarction.Dressler, Roesler 1947
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!”
- Frank L, Dressler W. Der Streber und andere Erzählungen. 1928
- Dressler W. Klinische Elektrokardiographie mit einem Grundriss der Arhythmien; eine Einführung für Studierende und Aerzte. Urban & Schwarzenberg. 1930.
- Dressler W. Die Brustwandpulsationen : als Symptome von Herz- und Gefässkrankheiten. Verlag. 1930.
- Dressler W. Klinische Elektrokardiographie mit einem Grundriss der Arhythmien. Urban & Schwarzenberg, Berlin. 1930
- Dressler W. Atlas der klinischen Elektrokardiographie, mit Anleitungen zur Differentialdiagnose. Urban & Schwarzenberg. 1936
- Dressler W. Clinical Cardiology. Hoeber. 1942
- Dressler W, Roesler H. High T waves in the earliest stage of myocardial infarction. American Heart Journal Volume 1947; 34(5): 627-645 [de Winter T waves]
- Dressler W, Roesler H. An atlas of electrocardiography. Springfield. 1949
- Dressler W, Roesler H, Lackner H. The significance of notched upright T waves. Br Heart J. 1951 Oct;13(4):496-502.
- Dressler W, Roesler H. The occurrence in paroxysmal ventricular tachycardia of ventricular complexes transitional in shape to sinoauricular beats: A diagnostic aid. Am Heart J. 1952 Oct;44(4):485-93. [Dressler beat]
- Dressler W. Post-Myocardial Infarction Syndrome: Preliminary Report of a Complication Resembling Idiopathic, Recurrent, Benign Pericarditis. JAMA. 1956;160(16):1379-1383. [Dressler syndrome]
- Dressler W. The post-myocardial-infarction syndrome: a report on forty-four cases. AMA Arch Intern Med. 1959 Jan;103(1):28-42
- Dressler W. Transient bundle branch block occurring during slowing of the heart beat and following gagging. Am Heart J. 1959; 58: 760-764.
- Dressler W, Leavitt SS. Pericarditis after acute myocardial infarction. Relapses over period of twenty-eight months. JAMA. 1960 Jul 16;173:1225-6.
- Dressler W. Existenz und Arbeit: das Problem der Konkretion des abstrakten Existenzbegriffes in der Philosophie J.P. Sartres. 1969
- Dressler W. Clinical aids in cardiac diagnosis. Grune & Stratton. 1970
- William Dressler, A Heart Specialist. New York Times, Oct 12, 1969: 86.
- Weisse AB. Heart to Heart: The Twentieth Century Battle Against Cardiac Disease: an Oral History. Rutgers University Press, 2002.
- Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Blumesberger S, Doppelhofer M, Mauthe G. Handbuch österreichischer Autorinnen und Autoren jüdischer Herkunft 18. bis 20. Jahrhundert: S-Z : 8923-11742, Register, Volume 3. Saur, 2002; 237-238.
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