- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Ernst Viktor von Leyden

Born  1832-04-20
Died  1910-10-05

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German internist, born April 20, 1832, Danzig Gdansk); died October 5, 1910, Berlin.

Biography of Ernst Viktor von Leyden

Ernst Viktor von Leyden studied at the Friedrich-Wilhelms-Institut in Berlin, a pupil of Johann Lukas Schönlein (1793-1864) and Ludwig Traube (1818-1876). He received his doctorate in 1853 in Berlin and became a physician in 1854. He was at first military physician in the army, assigned to work with Schönlein and Traube. During this period he turned to internal medicine, for which he was habilitated at Berlin in 1863

In 1865 Leyden was called upon to leave his position as Stabsarzt to assume the position of professor of medicine and director of the internal clinic in Königsberg. Here, working with Otto Spiegelberg (1830-1881) and Friedrich Daniel von Recklinghausen (1833-1910), he instigated a new era of clinical education. From 1872 he held a similar position at the newly founded Kaiser Wilhelm University in Strassburg, and from 1876 succeeded Traube in Berlin. Upon the death of Friedrich Theodor Frerich (born 1819) in 1885 he became director of the 1st medicial clinic in Berlin. In 1894 he stayed for a sustained period of time at the Russian court treating Czar Alexander, and in 1895 was raised to the nobility. He retired in 1907.

von Leyden was foremost in the movement for adequate hospital facilities (sanatoria) for tuberculous patients. He had a great clinical reputation and specialised in neurological problems, and his lectures were to influence Ludwig Edinger (1855-1918). Carl Wilhelm Hermann Nothnagel (1841-1905) was his assistant when he was in Königsberg.

von Leyden published articles on a wide variety of medical topics, and several monographs. Among his topics were tabes and poliomyelitis. He was the publisher of Handbuch der Ernährungstherapie. 2 volumes. Leipzig, 1897-1899; 2nd edition, 1903-1904; and of the Deutsche Klinik; with C. Gerhardt and B. Fränkel co-publisher of the Zeitschrift für Tuberkulose und Heilstättenwesen and Zeitschrift für diätetische und physikalische Therapie (with Goldscheider in Leipzig, 1898). With Frerichs in 1880 he founded the Zeitschrift für klinische Medizin, in which he published most of his later works. In 1881 he founded the Gesellschaft für innere Medizin.


  • Die graue Degeneration der hinteren Rückenmarksstränge.
    Berlin, A. Hirschwald, 1863.
  • Beiträge zur Pathologie des Ikterus. Berlin, 1866.
  • Die Klinik der Rückenmarkskrankheiten.
    2 volumes; Berlin 1874-1876. Translated into French.
    First description of myotonia congenita occurs on page 550, volume 2, part 2.
  • Ueber acute Ataxie.
    Zeitschrift für klinische Medicin, Berlin, 1891; 18: 576-587.
  • Ueber Fettherz.
    Zeitschrift für klinische Medizin, Berlin, 1882; 5: 1-25.
    Fatty infiltration of the heart first described.
  • Ueber die Sclerose der coronar-Arterien und die davon abhängigen Krankheitszustände.
    Zeitschrift für klinische Medizin, Berlin, 1884; 7: 459-486, 539-580.
  • Die Erkrankungen des Rückenmarkes und der Medulla oblongata.
    With Johannes Karl August Eugen Alfred Goldscheider (1858-1935).
    In: Carl Wilhelm Hermann Nothnagel (1841-1905), et al, publisher: Handbuch der speciellen Pathologie und Therapie. Vienna, 1895-1897. Volume 10. (14) + 760 pages.
    2nd and revised edition, 1905. VIII + 256 and (2) + 524 and (4) + 84 pages.
  • Der Tetanus. With Ferdinand Blumenthal (1870-1941).
    In: Nothnagel’s Specielle Pathologie und Therapie. Volume 5. Vienna, 1900.
  • Lebenserinnerungen. Stuttgart and Leipzig, 1910.

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