The Corrigan Sign

Richard Allen Dickey, MD
JAMA. 1969;209(3):419. doi:10.1001/jama.1969.03160160055026.
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To the Editor:—  In your biographical sketch of Sir Dominic Corrigan (208: 1152, 1969), you note his description of "the visible pulsations of an aneurysm of the aortic arch" as noted over the carotid arteries. You refer to this as the Corrigan sign. You further state that Sir Dominic's best known eponym was associated with aortic regurgitation. In fact, the water-hammer pulse, the collapsing pulse, or the pulsus celer associated with aortic insufficiency has been incorrectly termed the Corrigan pulse. While Corrigan did, in 1833 at age 30, describe the visible abrupt distention and quick collapse of the carotid arteries in patients with aortic insufficiency, the similarity of the palpable characteristics of the pulse in aortic insufficiency and that of a 19th century water-hammer toy was pointed out by Thomas Watson 11 years later in 1844. Accordingly, it is suggested that the eponym "Watson pulse" be appropriately substituted for Corrigan


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