Insufficiency, Aortic – Cause of Death

Aortic Insufficiency (click link for more information.)

“Aortic insufficiency is a heart valve disease in which the aortic valve does not close tightly. This allows blood to flow from the aorta (the largest blood vessel) into the left ventricle (a chamber of the heart).”

The same article says that rheumatic fever was the main cause of aortic insufficiency in the past.  Also that diagnosis was made by hearing a heart murmur and the patient having other symptoms.

This is a copy of Thomas Allen’s death certificate from his pension file. Before I received the file, I found his death certificate on ancestry.com. Finding his mother’s name to be “Clara Green” made me realize that he was my great grandmother Anna’s brother and that is the reason I sent for the Pension File.

14 thoughts on “Insufficiency, Aortic – Cause of Death”

  1. Thanks for visiting my blog at TravelGenee. I was interested to see you are using some of the Pension Files. I don’t have ancestors from the USA so have not had anything to do with these. However it is nice to see what others get with local data compared to New Zealand, England and Australia.

  2. How did they know exactly what he had? They certainly didn’t have tests like echo-cardiograms, ultrasounds and MRIs, so did they just diagnose this based on heart murmurs and related symptoms? I know many diseases during this period were just “catch all” terms for illnesses they didn’t understand or couldn’t properly diagnose. Aortic insufficiency is very specific.

    Sorry, I’m just fascinated with historical medicine.

  3. I hate clicking health related links as I always seem to have matching symptoms. Had you heard of aortic insufficiency before you found Thomas’s death certificate?

    1. As we come forward in time, death certificates contain more information. This one was much better than earlier ones I have seen that only give the name of the deceased and the cause of death – no parents names or anything.

  4. This is interesting. Have you looked at the “Medical and Surgical History of the War of Rebellion” (available online)? Some of these heart ailments were caused or exacerbated by wartime conditions, and you may find additional information about Thomas’s condition.

    1. I would be so lost if i wasn’t able to do research on the internet. I hope they will eventually be digitalized or you will live next door to a place where they are available in real life!

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