- Best known for his work on rheumatic and coronary heart disease.
- He made important studies of rheumatic fever describing the diastolic murmur of acute rheumatic mitral valvulitis (Carey-Coombs murmur) and taking a great interest in the prevention and management of heart disease in children.
- Born 1879 Castle Cary, Somerset, UK.
- 1901 – graduated St Mary’s Hospital Medical School having been awarded prizes in Medicine, Surgery, Pathology, Hygiene, Forensic Medicine and Psychological Medicine
- 1903 – became Medical Registrar at St Mary’s Hospital.
- 1904 – left London to become a General Practitioner.
- 1905 – Registrar at Bristol Children’s Hospital.
- 1917 – Fellow of Royal College of Physicians.
- 1920 – became physician at Bristol General Hospital.
- 1920 – part of a group of Consultants who set up the Cardiac Club, the forerunner of the British Cardiac Society
- 1927 – became director of the Bristol University Centre of Cardiac Research.
- During First World War served in the Royal Army Medical Corps and was posted to Europe, Egypt, Iraq and India, which he expressed concern in the lack of continuity of his research.
- 1932 – died following a cardiac event at the age of 53.
Key Medical Attributions:
- Influential in the study of both coronary thrombosis and rheumatic heart disease. Prior to his death he had documented 144 cases of coronary thrombosis.
- He was invited by Dr Frederick Poynton to develop an interest in rheumatic heart disease and during his work at Bristol Children’s Hospital, compiled research into valvular heart disease in children and noted a specific diastolic murmur.
- Most famously known for the Carey-Coombs murmur which is now largely obsolete due to the eradication of rheumatic heart disease.
- Carey-Coombs murmur: short mid-diastolic murmur caused by active rheumatic carditis with mitral-valve inflammation
- Coombs CF. A British Medical Association Lecture on heart attacks. Br Med J. 1928 Jun 16;1(3519):1009-13. [PMC2456300]
- Coombs CF. The Nature and Treatment of Chorea. Bristol Med Chir J (1883). 1911 Mar;29(111):51-67. [PMC5049107]
- Coombs CF. Thirty Years’ Progress in the Study of Rheumatic Heart Disease. Bristol Med Chir J (1883). 1933 Summer;50(188):93-112. [PMC5060960]
- Coombs CF. Prognosis in Coronary Thrombosis. Bristol Med Chir J (1883). 1932 Winter; 49(186): 277–284. [PMC5058289]
- Coombs CF. Rheumatic heart disease. New York: William Wood, 1924.
- Although one of the first to describe myocardial infarction, credit actually went to James Herrick who published his findings in JAMA in 1912.
- Upon his death, Coombs’ wish was to have his heart preserved in a pathology museum, but on autopsy, there was nothing structurally wrong with his heart and thus, nothing for the museum. [Reference]
- Weston CF. Carey Franklin Coombs 1879-1932. Bristol Med Chir J. 1989 Nov;104(4):97-103.[PMC5113506]
- Carey Franklin Coombs 1879-1932 . Mitral Valve.
- Herrick JB. Clinical features of sudden obstruction of the coronary arteries. JAMA. 1912;59:2015–20.
- Hollman A. Dr Carey Coombs and his non-existent cardiac infarct. Heart. 2000;83;582.
LITFL Related Links
- Biographical Medical Eponyms – A-Z of eponymous medical pioneers
- Eponymictionary – Searchable Eponymictionary Database
- Medical Eponyms – A-Z of signs, syndromes, diseases and classifications
- Orthopaedic Eponyms – Eponymous orthopedic fractures and classifications
- Cardiac Eponyms – Eponymous cardiology collection