Louis Henri Vaquez
Biography of Louis Henri Vaquez
Louis Henri Vaquez was born in Paris and studied medicine in his native city, graduating M.D. in 1890. He became médecin des hôpitaux in 1895, professeur agrégé in 1898, and in 1918 was appointed professor of clinical medicine. That year he was elected a member of the Academy of Medicine.
Vaquez' most important work was on diseases of the blood and the vessels. His first investigations concerned haematological disorders, including the leukaemias, polycythaemia, haemolytic anaemias and the role and indications for splenectomy. Influenced by Pierre Charles Édouard Potain (1825-1901), he specialised in diseases of the heart, and rapidly became one of France's leading physicians. He described polycythaemia vera in 1892. William Osler published his classical description of the disorder in 1903 and at first thought it was a new clinical entity, but learnt of Vaquez' report and acknowledged his priority.
He was one of the first to recognise that Stokes-Adams attacks were related to interference to the bundle of His resulting in a discordant beating of the auricle vis-à-vis the ventricle. He introduced recording of the jugular venous pulse and the electrocardiogram to France, and pursued the work of Potain on hypertension.
Vaques was active both as an author and a journalist. He wrote a book on the cardiac arrhythmias in 1911 and another on cardiac disorders in 1920 and was the founder and editor of a journal on disorders of the heart, vessels and blood - Archives des maladies du coeur, vaissaux et du sang. His close friends included Joseph Jules François Félix Babinski (1857-1932), Georges-Fernand-Isidore Widal (1862-1929, and the poet André Rivoire.