- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Claude Schaeffer Beck

Born  1894
Died  1971

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American surgeon, born 1894, Shamoka, Pennsylvania; died 1971.

Biography of Claude Schaeffer Beck

Claude Schaeffer Beck graduated MD from Johns Hopkins in 1921. Following a period as Cabot Fellow at Harvard and associate surgeon at the Peter Bent Brigham, Beck in 1924 went to Cleveland. For several years he conducted experiments on animals. In 1935 he implanted pectoral muscle into the pericardium and that same year attached a pedicled omental graft to the surface of the heart (cardioomentopexy), thus providing collateral circulation to that organ. The feat was duplicated by Laurence O'Shaughnessy (1900-1940) in the following year. After an initial wave of enthusiasm, however, the technique was abandoned.

Although predominantly a thoracic surgeon, he made numerous contributions to vascular surgery and to neurosurgery, in particular the use of vitallium plates to close defects of the skull. He pioneered emergency surgery to re-start hearts (open cardiac massage) on patients «too good to die» and lectured widely to lay audiences on appropriate first aid techniques. He died of a stroke.


  • C. S. Beck:
    Two cardiac compression triads.
    Journal of the American Medical Association, Chicago, 1935, 104: 714-716.
  • C. S. Beck, W. H. Pritchard and H. S. Feil:
    Ventricular fibrillation of long duration abolished by electric shock.
    Journal of the American Medical Association, Chicago, 1947, 135: 985-986.
    The first successful defibrillation of a surgical patient, with the chest opened, and the paddles applied directly to the heart.
  • C. S. Beck:
    The development of a new blood supply to the heart by operation.
    Annals of Surgery, Philadelphia, 1935, 102: 801-813.
    By implantation of the pectoral muscle into the pericardium, Beck provided a collateral circulation of the heart for the relief of myocardial ischaemia. This paper recorded the first operation on a man. It was preceded by Beck's paper, written with V. L. Tichy and A. R. Moritz, recording operations on dogs: Production of a collateral circulation to the heart. In: Proceedings of the Society of Experimental Biology and Medicine, New York, 1935, 32: 759-761.
  • C. S. Beck, Vladimir Leslie Tichy (1899-1967):
    The Production of a collateral circulation to the heart. I. An experimental study.
    Proceedings of the Society of Experimental Biology and Medicine, New York, 1935, 32: 759-761.
  • C. S. Beck, C. F. McKhann and D. W. Belnap:
    Revascularization of the brain through establishment of a cervical arteriovenous fistula. Effects in children with mental retardation and convulsive disorders.
    Journal of Pediatrics, St. Louis, 1949, 35: 317-329.

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