Max Brödel: Illustrating healed valve ring abscesses

Brendan P. Lucey, Caroline Bedell Thomas, Grover M. Hutchins

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


A 14-year-old adolescent girl presented with severe congestive heart failure, progressive throughout 3 months. A precordial thrill, machinery-like murmur, and right bundle branch block were noted. Death occurred despite digitalis and diuretic therapy and removal of pleural and ascitic fluid. The autopsy revealed 2 multilocular cystic structures in the interventricular septum consistent with being spontaneously drained valve ring abscesses. One of these lesions formed a fistulous communication that penetrated through the interventricular septum between the right aortic sinus of Valsalva and the crista supraventricularis that connected to the right ventricle. Another lesion, an adjacent separate but similar cystlike structure, communicated only with the left ventricular cavity. Although the cause of these lesions is uncertain, it seems probable that they are the residue of spontaneously drained and healed valve ring abscesses. Max Brödel, a medical illustrator and the first director of the Department of Art as Applied to Medicine at The Johns Hopkins University, drew previously unpublished figures of this patient's cardiac lesions. These illustrations exhibit Brödel's superb command of both art and medicine essential to his ability to make complex anatomic relationships demonstrable. We discuss Brödel's career and his influence on both the art and science of medicine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1155-1158
Number of pages4
JournalArchives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2005


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