Lives of the fellows

Jean Lenègre

b.25 March 1904 d.9 February 1972
MD Paris FRCP(1963)

Jean Lenègre was born in Paris, the son of Felix Lenègre MD. He received his medical training there, coming under the influence of Clerc and Laubry, and chose cardiology as his main interest. In 1937 he became Médecin des Hôpitaux, and Professeur Agrégé in 1939. From 1936 to the outbreak of the second world war, he was in charge of pathological anatomy at the cardiological centre of the Broussais Hospital. He performed all his necropsies there and correlated his anatomical findings with the clinical electrocardiographic and haemodynamic data, and this work formed the basis of his well known textbook Électrocardiographie Clinique (1954) which was undoubtedly the most authoritative work on the subject at that date.

After military service in 1939-40, he worked at the Lariboisière Hospital until 1949, when he moved to Boucicaut where he remained as professor of clinical cardiology. He was a most versatile all round cardiologist whose numerous papers and books covered the whole field of cardiovascular disease, and he could hold his own in discussion with experts in almost every branch of cardiology. He was a prodigious worker who never spared himself, even when his health began to deteriorate, and undertook many important and burdensome duties including presidency of the French and European Societies of Cardiology and editorship of the Archives des Maladies du Coeur.

He liked working alone, and for a long time did post mortems himself. Despite many honours and distinctions he remained a simple friendly man, interested in his patients as well as in their diseases, and always willing to explain to them the reasons for the various tests. He became a world authority on diseases of the intercardiac conducting tissues, and showed that heart block with Adams-Stokes attacks was usually due not to coronary disease but to a primary fibrous degeneration of the bundle branches (‘maladie de Lenegre’).

He was twice married, first in 1933 and again in 1964. A daughter by his first marriage followed a medical career; he also had a daughter by his second marriage.

He died suddenly, after collapsing in the street, of a syncopal attack due to calcific aortic stenosis. Despite warning symptoms he had continued his work till the end.

He was an excellent speaker at congresses, never ruffled however hard pressed, and a charming companion and host.

D Evan Bedford

[Brit. Heart J., 1972, 34, 858; Arch. des Mai. du Coeur, 1973, 66, 1; Ann. Cardiol. Angeiol. (Paris) 21, 109-10; Sem. Hop. Paris, 48, Feb 1972; Rev. Esp. Cardiol., 25, 90 (1972); Nouv. Presse Med., 1, 1261-2, (1972); Arch. Inst. Cardiol. Mex., 42, 153-4 (1972); Union Med Can., 101, 728-9, (1972); Times, 15 Feb 1972]

(Volume VI, page 283)

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