Sir William Henry Broadbent, 1st Baronet KCVO FRS FRCP (1835 – 1907) was an English physician.
- Born 23 January 1835 in Lindley, England
- Died 10 July 1907 in London, England
Broadbent sign (1895)
Systolic retraction of the posterolateral area near the 11th and 12th left ribs, secondary to pericardial adhesions, first reported in 1895 by his Broadbent’s son, Walter, who gave full credit to his father for observing this phenomenon many years earlier. The findings have persisted in the literature as Broadbent’s sign and were described subsequently by Sir William in 1898
…a visible retraction, synchronous with the cardiac systole, of the left back in the region of the eleventh and twelfth ribs, and in three of which there is also systolic retraction of less degree in the same region of the right back. In all the cases there is a definite history of pericarditis, and in three of them there are other conditions strongly suggesting an adherent pericardium.
This sign has long been pointed out by Sir William Broadbent in the wards of St. Mary’s Hospital, but, so far as I have heard, has not had sufficient importance attached to it elsewhere. Adherent pericardium has frequently such a serious influence on the course of valvular disease, that any aid towards the diagnosis seems worthy of attention.Walter Broadbent 1895 (son attributing sign to his father, William)
A systolic tug of the left false ribs posteriorly communicated by the diaphragm may be conspicuous. The recoil from the drag may be so distinct as to look and feel to the hand like pulsation…systolic retraction of the lower ribs on the lateral or posterior aspect of the thorax is of the greatest importance, and can scarcely be due to anything else than pericardial diseaseWilliam Broadbent 1898
Key Medical Attributions
Broadbent provided the first English language systemic account of nervous system syphilis, making it the topic of his Lettsomian Lectures (1874), and supplemented it with further data some two years later (1876).
Neurology in the pre-radiology era involved observing patients, recording the signs and symptoms, then waiting for autopsy to confirm findings…There are many and varied publications by Broadbent. One of my favourite passages:
- Broadbent WH. Cancer : a new method of treatment. 1866
- Broadbent WH. An attempt to remove the difficulties attending the applications of Dr. Carpenter’s theory of the function of the sensori-motor ganglia to the common form of hemiplegia. British and Foreign Medico-Chirugical Review 1866; 37: 468–481
- Broadbent WH. On the cerebral mechanisms of speech and thought. Medico-Chirurgical Transactions 1872; 55: 145–194.
- Broadbent WH. Lettsomian lectures on syphilis of the nervous system. Lancet 1874; 104: 47–48, 115–122.
- Broadbent WH. Illustrations of syphilitic affections of the brain. Lancet 1876; 108: 739–741, 773–775, 813–814.
- Broadbent WH. A case of peculiar affection of speech, with commentary. Brain 1879; 1: 485–503
- Broadbent WH. On a particular form of amnesia: Loss of nouns. Medico-Chirurgical Transactions 1884; 67: 249–264
- Broadbent WH. The pulse. 1890
- ** Broadbent Walter. An unpublished physical sign. Lancet 1895; 146(3752): 200–1. [Broadbent sign]
- Broadbent WH. Adherent Pericardium. Transactions of the Medical Society of London 1898; 21: 109-122
- Broadbent WH. Heart disease: with special reference to prognosis and treatment. 1900
- Broadbent W, Broadbent JFH. Heart disease and aneurysm of the aorta, with special reference to prognosis and treatment. 1906 (4th edition)
- Broadbent W. Selections from the writings, medical and neurological of Sir William Broadbent. 1909
- Broadbent ME. Life of Sir William Broadbent. 1909
- William H Broadbent physician to Royalty. JAMA. 1967;199(3):212-213
- Eadie M. William Henry Broadbent (1835-1907) as a neurologist. J Hist Neurosci. 2015; 24(2): 137-47
the person behind the name
Associate Professor Curtin Medical School, Curtin University. Emergency physician MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM 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 |