Stokes, William (1804–1878),
British physician. Stokes produced more than 140 books and articles, covering such medical topics as intestinal disorders, mediastinal tumors, hydrocephalus, cerebrospinal meningitis, cancer of the mouth, and sarcoma of the scrotum. His most important works were concerned with diseases of the chest, heart, and aorta. His book Diseases of the Chest (1837) was the first treatise on the subject in modern medicine. His 1846 description of heart block, described previously by Giovanni Morgagni and later by Robert Adams, was a classic, detailed description that was based on case histories from several sources. In 1854 Stokes used Cheyne's observations on respiration as a point of departure and wrote an extended description of the condition now known as Cheyne-Stokes respiration.