Abraham Vater

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Abraham Vater (1684 - 1751) German anatomist and physician, Abraham Vater was the son of a distinguished physician and was born on the city of Wittenberg. He obtained a Doctorate in Philosophy (PhD) in 1706 and his medical degree in 1710 at the University of Leipzig. He became a professor “extraordinarius” of Anatomy and Botany in 1719, continuing his career in anatomy until he obtained the highest professorial degree at the University.

After the death of his father in 1733 Abraham Vater was appointed to the chair of Anatomy. In 1720 he published the discovery of a “biliary diverticulum” , the hepatopancreatic ampulla, known today as the “Ampulla of Vater” or duodenal papilla. His original article was entitled “Dissertatio anatomica qua novum bilis diverticulum circa orificium ductus choledochi”. He also described a large subcutaneous sensory nerve terminal known as the “Vater–Pacinian corpuscle”.

Known as an anatomist, Vater also wrote on surgery, gynecology, pharmacology, pathology, chemistry, and botany, making him a complete scientist. In a twist of fate, Vater died in 1751 after being afflicted with jaundice, probably a consequence of biliary blockage of his eponymic ampulla.

Abraham VaterOriginal image courtesy of www.nih.gov
1. "Abraham Vater (1684-1751)" Brit Med J; 2,(4) (1951), 1214
2. "Abraham Vater of the Ampulla (Papilla) of Vater" Lerch, MM; Domschke, W. Gastroenterology (2000) 118: (2) 379