- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Armand Trousseau

Born  1801
Died  1867

Related eponyms

French internist, born October 14, 1801, Tours; died June 27, 1867.

Biography of Armand Trousseau

Armand Trousseau began his medical studies in his native town as a pupil of Pierre Fidele Bretonneau (1778-1862), under whose guidance he was particularly educated in clinical observation at the Hôpital générale. He continued his studies in Paris, where he received his doctorate in 1825 and already in 1827 became agrégé at the faculty.

In 1828, three years after his examination, he was assigned by the government to investigate epidemics ravaging some parts of southern France. After completing his mission the same year, Trousseau travelled to Gibraltar as a member of a commission to investigate yellow fever. This work, and a monograph on laryngeal phthisis, led to his early recognition in Paris.

In 1830 Trousseau became Médecin des hôpitaux through concours, and in 1832 received a position in public health with the Bureau central, while also working as a physician in the Hôtel-Dieu under Joseph Claude Anthelme Récamier (1774-1852). In 1837 he received the great prize of the academy. In 1839 he was appointed physician at the Hôpital St. Antoine and, following an outstanding concours, received the chair of therapy and pharmacology at the Paris medical faculty, a position in which he distinguished himself for his teaching and as a physician and diagnostician. In 1850 he assumed the chair of clinical medicine and again commenced working in the Hôtel-Dieu. Six years later, in 1856, he became a member of the Academy of Medicine.

Besides his medical activity Trousseau was also active in politics, particularly after the revolution of 1848, holding important positions. He was a member of the legislative body.

Trousseau's immense skill as practitioner and clinician justify a comparison with men such as Richard Bright (1789-1858) and Thomas Addison (1795-1860). As a leader of the French therapeutic renaissance, Trousseau was instrumental in creating new modes of treatment of croup, emphysema, pleurisy, goitre, and malaria.

Trousseau received the prize of the French Academy of Medicine for his classic essay on laryngology which originally appeared in 1837. He was the first in France to perform a tracheotomy, and wrote a monograph on this as well as intubation in 1851. His textbooks on clinical medicine and therapeutics were both extremely popular and translated into English. Trousseau also coined the term aphasia.

Armand Trousseau was above all an outstanding clinician who developed a well-deserved reputation as an exceptional lecturer and teacher and an advocate of bedside teaching through clinical demonstration. He was adored by his students and colleagues alike, due to his astuteness, integrity and generosity. Numerous students of his achieved fame.

Trousseau was a master of artistic presentation of disease cases, with the ability to describe his cases with the elegance of a novelist. In 1834, with Henri Gouraud (1807-1874) and Jacques Lebaudy Trousseau founded the Journal des connaissances médico-chirurgicales, to which he contributed prolifically. Trousseau popularised eponyms like Addison's disease, Graves' disease and Hodgkin's disease.

During his later years Trousseau suffered much – from Trousseau's syndrome! – and often had to interrupt his practice and his academic activity. Trousseau’s grandson was the distinguished ophthalmologist Armand Trousseau (1856-1910).

    A knowledge of the specific element in disease is the key to medicine.
    Clinical Medicine, Volume I, Introduction

    We do not know the mode of action of almost all remedies. Why therefore fear to confess our ignorance? In truth, it seems that the words “I do not know” stick in every physicians throat.
    Bulletin de l’Académie impériale de médecine, 1860, 25: 733

    To know the natural progress of diseases is to know more than half of medicine . . . Observe the practice of many physicians; do not implicitly believe the mere assertion of your master; be something better than servile learner; og forth yourselves to see and compare . . . knowing, henceforth, the physiognomy of the disease when allowed to run its own course, you can, without risk of error, estimate the value of the different medications which have been employed. You will discover which remedies have done no harm, and which have notably curtailed the duration of the disease; and thus for the future you will have a standard by which to measure the value of the medicine which you see employed to counteract the malady in question. What you have done in respect of one disease, you will be able to do in respect of many; and by proceeding in this way you will be able, on sure data, to pass judgment on the treatment pursued by your masters.
    Clinical Medicine, Volume I, Introduction

    Get the patient well.
    Quoted by F. H. Garrison in Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, 1929, 5: 157.

    Take care not to fancy that you are physicians as soon as you have mastered scientific facts; they only afford to your understanding an opportunity of bringing forth fruit, and og elevating you to the high position os a man of art.
    Clinical Medicine, Volume I, Introduction.


  • Documents recueillis par la commission Française envoyée à Gibraltar pour observer la fièvre jaune qui a regné dans cette place.
    With Nicolas Chervin (1783-1843) and Pierre Charles Alexandre Louis (1787-1872). 2 volumes; Paris, 1830.
  • Mémoire sur un cas de tracheotomie pratiquée dans la période extrème de croup.
    Journal des connaissances médico-chirurgicales, 1833, 1: 5, 41.
    Trousseau popularised tracheotomy.
  • Répertoire clinique: Expèriences homoeopathiques tentées à l'Hôtel-Dieu du Paris. With Henri Gouraud.
    Journal des connaissances médico-chirugicales, 1834, 8:238-241.
  • Traité de thérapeutique et de matière médicale.
    With Hermann Pidoux (1808-1882). 2 volumes, Paris, Béchet jeune, 1836-1839; 6th edition, 1858; 8th edition, Paris, Asselin, 1868-1870. Translated into English, Spanish, and Italian.
    A valuable work of reference, containing a large amount of information of the various articles of the materia medica, collected from the best authorities, interspersed with much original matter.
  • Traité pratique de la phthisie laryngée, de la laryngite chronique, et des maladies de la voix. Accompagné de neuf planches gravées.
    With Hippolyte Belloc. Paris, Chez J. B. Baillière, 1837.
    Ouvrage couronné par l'Académie royale de Médicine.
    Won the grand prize of the Académie de médecine.
    Bruxelles, Société Encyclographique des Sciences Médicales, 1837.
    German translation by Jul. G. Schnackenberg of Quedlinburg:
  • Ueber Phthisis laryngea, Laryngitis chronica und die Krankheiten der Stimme.
    Leipzig, Basse, 1838. Also translated by Romberg. Leipzig, 1839.
    English translation by J. A. Warder:
  • A practical treatise on laryngeal phthisis, chronic laryngitis, and diseases of the voice. Philadelphia, A. Waldie, 1839.
    John Davies (1796-1872):
  • A practical treatise on laryngeal phthisis, chronic laryngitis, and diseases of the voice, by A. Trousseau and H. Belloc. Pathology and surgery; or, An exposition of the nature and treatment of local disease. Philadelphia, Carey & Hart, 1841.
  • Sur le pouls des enfants à la mamelle.
    Journal des connaissances médico-chirurgicales, 1841, 9: 23-29:
  • Nouvelles recherches sur la trachéotomie pratiquée dans la période extrême du croup.
    Paris, 1851; a separate print from the Union médicale.
  • Du tubage de la glotte et de la trachéotomie. Paris, 1851.
  • Sur la fièvre typhoïde. Journal paper, 1856.
  • Clinique médicale de l'Hôtel-Dieu de Paris.
    2 volumes. Paris, J. B. Baillière, 1861-1862.
    Later editions in 3 volumes. Paris, Baillière. 2nd edition,1865. 3rd edition 1868. 4th edition 1873. 5th edition 1877. 6th edition 1882. 7th edition, 1885. 8th edition 1894.
    English, London, 1867, 1868, 1870/1872.
    Philadelphia 1867-1871, 1873.
  • Lectures on clinical medicine, delivered at the Hotel-Dieu, Paris.
    Translated and edited with notes and appendices by P. Victor Bazire (1835-1867). London: The New Sydenham Society; Publications. 5 volumes 1868-1872 : 35, 42, 45, 51, 55.
    Volumes 2-5 translated from the edition of 1868, being the third revised and enlarged edition; by Sir John Rose Cormack (1815-1882).
    John Rose Cormack. Philadelphia: P. Blakiston; 1882.
    German translation from the second edition by L. Culman, Würzburg, 1866, 1868.
    Clinique médicale contains the bulk of his most important writings.
  • Glycosurie, diabète sucré.
    Clinique médicale de l'Hôtel-Dieu de Paris, 2nd edition, Paris, 1865, 2: 663-698.
    First description of haemochromatosis. The term haemochromatosis was introduced by Friedrich Daniel von Recklinghausen (1833-1910) in 1889.
  • De L'Epilepsie. Clinique Medicale de L'Hotel-Dieu de Paris, 1877: 89-155
  • Phlegmasia alba dolens.
    Clinique Medicale de L'Hotel Dieu de Paris. 2nd edition, Paris: Bailliere, 1865. Biographical
  • Barry G. Firkin and Judith A. Whitworth:
    Dictionary of Medical Eponyms.
    The Parthenon Publishing Group. 1989. New edition in 2002.
  • Richard Toellner:
    Illustrierte Geschichte der Medizin. Andreas & Andreas Verlag, Salzburg, 1990.
    Original title: Histoire de la médicine, de la pharmacie, de l'art dentaire et de l'art vétérinaire. Paris 1978.
  • August Hirsch (1817-1894), publisher:
    Biographisches Lexikon der hervorragenden Ärzte aller Zeiten und Völker.
    2nd edition. Berlin, Urban & Schwarzenberg, 1929.
    First published in 6 volumes 1884-1888. 3rd edition, München 1962.

What is an eponym?

An eponym is a word derived from the name of a person, whether real or fictional. A medical eponym is thus any word related to medicine, whose name is derived from a person.

What is Whonamedit?

Whonamedit.com is a biographical dictionary of medical eponyms. It is our ambition to present a complete survey of all medical phenomena named for a person, with a biography of that person.


Whonamedit? does not give medical advice.
This survey of medical eponyms and the persons behind them is meant as a general interest site only. No information found here must under any circumstances be used for medical purposes, diagnostically, therapeutically or otherwise. If you, or anybody close to you, is affected, or believe to be affected, by any condition mentioned here: see a doctor.