- Best known for his work on the pathogenesis and mechanism of late systolic murmurs and mitral non-ejection clicks. He described mitral valve prolapse and associated signs and symptoms (Barlow’s syndrome), though would probably have preferred the term ‘billowing posterior mitral leaflet syndrome’.
- At the height of apartheid, Barlow and Margaret McLaren undertook an epidemiological study of the prevalence of rheumatic heart disease in Sowetan schoolchildren. Demonstrated poor socio-economic conditions of the South African black population.
“To all the students who listen, look, touch and reflect: may they hear, see, feel and comprehend” Barlow JB. 1986
- Born 24 October 1924
- 1939 – Started MD at University of the Witwatersrand, but interrupted training to enlist with the South African forces attached to the British Eighth Army in North Africa, then the American Fifth Army in Italy. Returned to medical school in 1946, graduating 1951.
- 1955 – MRCP, London. Training with Sir John McMichael at Hammersmith Hospital and the Royal Postgraduate Medical School in London – developed keen interest in cardiology.
- 1971 – 1990 Director, Cardio-Vascular Research Unit University of the Witwatersrand
- 1980 – Professor cardiology, Johannesburg Hospital
- André Allard Medal for Distinguished Service to Medicine
- Professor Emeritus, University of the Witwatersrand
- Died 10 December 2008
Key Medical Attributions:
- Nicknamed ‘canary’
- Barlow’s syndrome
- Barlow JB, Bosman CK, Pocock WA, Marchand P. Late systolic murmurs and non-ejection (“mid-late”) systolic clicks. An analysis of 90 patients. Br Heart J. 1968 Mar;30(2):203-18. [PMC487607]
- Barlow JB, Pocock WA. Mitral valve prolapse, the specific billowing mitral leaflet syndrome, or an insignificant non-ejection systolic click. [PMID 420065]
- Barlow JB. Perspectives on the Mitral Valve. F A Davis Co. 1986.
- Barlow JB, Pocock WA. The significance of late systolic murmurs. Md State Med J. 1963 Feb;12:76-7. [PMID 13966713]
- McLaren MJ, Hawkins DM, Lachman AS, Lakier JB, Pocock WA, Barlow JB. Non-ejection systolic clicks and mitral systolic murmurs in black schoolchildren of Soweto, Johannesburg. Br Heart J. 1976 Jul;38(7):718-24. [PMC483074]
- Barlow JB, Pocock WA, Tabatznik BA. An epidemic of ‘acute eosinophilic pneumonia’ following ‘beer drinking’ and probably due to infestation with Ascaris lumbricoides. S Afr Med J. 1961 May 13;35:390-4. [PMID 13687050]
- Wigle ED, Rakowski H, Ranganathan N, Silver MC. Mitral valve prolapse. Annu Rev Med. 1976;27:165-80. [PMID 779595]
- Chizner MA. Cardiac auscultation: rediscovering the lost art. Curr Probl Cardiol. 2008 Jul;33(7):326-408. [PMID 18513577]
- Obel IWP. Mitral valve billow and prolapse: a brief review at 45 years. Cardiovasc J Afr. 2009 Feb; 20(1): 24–26. [PMC4200565]
- Jankelow D. A Tribute to Professor John Barlow. Adler Museum Bulletin. 2012. 38(1): 18–25.
- Tabatznik B. A life-long relationship with John Barlow. Adler Museum Bulletin. 2014. 40(1): 22-26. [PDF]
- Cheng TO. Profiles in Cardiology. John B. Barlow: Master Clinician and Compleat Cardiologist. Clin. Cardiol. 2000. 23, 66-67 [PDF]
- Biography: John Brereton Barlow. Munk’s Roll : Volume XII.
- Ma I, Tierney LM. Name that murmur–eponyms for the astute auscultician. N Engl J Med. 2010 Nov 25;363(22):2164-8.[PMID 21105801]
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