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Adolph Kussmaul

adolf kussmaul, adolph kussmaul
Adolph Kussmaul German: Carl Philipp Adolf Konrad Kußmaul; 22 February 1822 – 28 May 1902 was a German physician1 and a leading clinician of his time He was born as the son and grandson of physicians at Graben near Karlsruhe and studied at Heidelberg He entered the army after graduation and spent two years as an army surgeon This was followed by a period as a general practitioner before he went to Würzburg to study for his doctorate under Virchow

He was subsequently Professor of Medicine at Heidelberg 1857, Erlangen 1859, Freiburg 1859 and Strassburg 1876

He died in Heidelberg2


  • 1 Eponymous terms
  • 2 Firsts
  • 3 References
  • 4 External links

Eponymous termsedit

His name continues to be used in eponyms3 He described two medical signs and one disease which have eponymous names that remain in use:

  • Kussmaul breathing - Very deep and labored breathing with normal, rapid or reduced frequency seen in severe Diabetic ketoacidosis DKA
  • Kussmaul's sign - Paradoxical rise in the Jugular venous pressure JVP on inhalation in Constrictive pericarditis or Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease COPD
  • Kussmaul disease Also called Kussmaul-Maier disease - Polyarteritis nodosa Named with Rudolf Robert Maier 1824-1888

The following eponymous terms are considered archaic:

  • Kussmaul's coma - diabetic coma due to ketoacidosis
  • Kussmaul's aphasia - selective mutism


  • First to describe dyslexia in 1877 He called it 'word blindness'
  • First to describe polyarteritis nodosa
  • First to describe progressive bulbar paralysis
  • First to diagnose mesenteric embolism
  • First to perform pleural tapping and gastric lavage
  • First to attempt oesophagoscopy and gastroscopy
  • First to describe the emotional symptoms of mercury exposure as a first stage preceding the physical effects4


  1. ^ Matteson EL, Kluge FJ January 2003 "Think clearly, be sincere, act calmly: Adolf Kussmaul 22 February 1822 - 28 May 1902 and his relevance to medicine in the 21st century" Curr Opin Rheumatol 15 1: 29–34 PMID 12496507 doi:101097/00002281-200301000-00006 
  2. ^ OkDoKeY,Handbook of Pathophysiology January 15, 2001
  3. ^ Whitworth, Judith A; Firkin, Barry G 1996 Dictionary of medical eponyms New York: Parthenon Pub ISBN 1-85070-333-7 
  4. ^ Buck, Albert H Cyclopaedia of the Practice of Medicine Vol XIV Diseases of the Nervous System New York: William Wood and Company, 1877 612 Print

External linksedit

  • Adolf Kussmaul, biography from Who Named It

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Adolph Kussmaul

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