Dyre Trolle, M.D., Ph.D.

Dyre Trolle


Professor Dyre Trolle, M.D., Ph.D. was born February 27th 1914 and died on October 20, 2002 at the age of 88 after a long and productive life. Professor Trolle contributed in many ways to the clinical and academic development of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He was greatly respected and appreciated as a teacher. Dyre Trolle had a great personality, and those personality characteristics are rarely seen today. He had strong opinions. He did not like the structural changes in the Danish hospital organization which necessitated restrictions in the working facilities and possibilities in the University hospital, Rigshospitalet, where he worked most of his life. He had a strong sense of duty and was very industrious and upright. He was always available and well conversant with the most recent literature which he applied in the care of his patients in the delivery ward. He made rounds several times a day and performed difficult obstetrical interferences until cesarean section and vacuum extraction became more common place. He cared for a great number of patients through all of their pregnancies.

One of his goals was to make obstetrics "evidence-based". He popularized this before it became a general trend. First he created the necessary definitions, which were published in 1959 in Latin: Nomenclatura Obstetricia to make internal comparison possible. During a long period he collected clinical data from pregnancy and delivery, together with his wife Grethe, to allow evaluation and comparison of the treatments used in the University clinic. For the World Health Organization he investigated differences in pre-term delivery and child mortality.

Dyre Trolle applied "intensive prophylaxis" in pregnancy and evaluated estriol and alpha-fetoprotein among others as a means of detecting high risk pregnancies. The pregnant women collected their 24 hour urine with enthusiasm when requested. He was the first to observe that pregnancy with Down syndrome fetuses might have low estriols. He did not however pursue that individual marker which is now part of risk estimation for Down syndrome fetuses because as an isolated marker it was too uncertain. He studied and used phenobarbitone to treat preterm delivery and preeclampsia. He introduced exchange-transfusion after delivery and later blood transfusion during pregnancy in rhesus immunized pregnancies in Denmark. All results were monitored and used to improve the treatment.

As a member of the hospital building committee he contributed by creating a women's and children's hospital which allowed a combination of clinical and laboratory science and treatment with space for the first Danish Department of Neonatology as well as for ultrasound and prenatal research laboratories for cytogenetic, metabolic disease and electron microscopy laboratories. He re-established the museum for old obstetrical instruments and rare patho-anatomical preparations. Dyre Trolle was engaged in obstetrical history and wrote a history concerning cesarean section. He initiated a long series of scientific projects and supported his associates and students through their scientific work. He was editor of Acta Obstetricia Gynecologic Scandinavica and a member of the editorial committees of Excerpta Medica.

Dyre Trolle graduated from the University of Copenhagen in 1939, defended his thesis in 1948 and became a specialist in gynecology in 1950 and obstetrics in 1952. He was appointed Chief of Obstetrics (chief Accoucheur) and gynecology at the University Clinic of Obstetrics and Gynecology in Righospitalet and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Neonatology in 1962. He supported the establishment of the Department of Neonatology in the hospital from his own appointment. He participated on the Finnish side in the Finnish Russian war in 1940. He was an honorary member of numerous gynaecological societies and received several prizes of honor.

His example and his contributions influenced his time. We will remember him.

Submitted by John Philip, M.D.

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