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Did Ludwig's angina kill Ludwig?

  • J Wasson (a1), C Hopkins (a1) and D Bowdler (a1)

Wilhelm Frederick von Ludwig first described in 1836 a potentially fatal, rapidly spreading soft tissue infection of the neck and floor of the mouth. The condition was later named ‘Ludwig's angina’, a term which persists in medicine to this day. A gold medallist at 19 and professor at 25, Ludwig also served as president of the Württemberg Medical Association and chief physician to the royal family. His outstanding contribution to medicine was rewarded with the title Excellence upon retiring in 1855. Ludwig died at the age of 75, ironically, days after developing an inflammation of the neck. Could it be that Ludwig died of his own condition? This article combines a biography of Wilhelm Frederick von Ludwig with an overview of his eponymous condition and its management.

Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Mr Joseph Wasson, Department of Otolaryngology, University Hospital Lewisham, Lewisham High Street, London SE13 6LH, UK. Fax:  + 44 (0)208 333 3188 E-mail:
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The Journal of Laryngology & Otology
  • ISSN: 0022-2151
  • EISSN: 1748-5460
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-laryngology-and-otology
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