Ludwig angina


Ludwig angina: rapidly progressive gangrenous bilateral cellulitis of the submandibular space and soft tissues of the neck with risk of life-threatening airway compromise. Ludwig angina can rapidly lead to an airway obstruction and death with a mortality rate of up to 50% in untreated cases and 8% for treated disease.

The condition is named after the German physician Wilhelm Frederick von Ludwig (1790–1865) following his 1836 description

History of Ludwig angina

Early descriptions of deep neck infections date back to Hippocrates and Galen.

1769 – John Fothergill (1712–1780)

1822George Gregory (1790-1853) Physician to the Small-Pox and Vaccination Hospital. cynanche (Greek: kyōn “dog” – ankhein “to strangle”; “dog collar”)

1836 – Willhem Frederick von Ludwig described five patients with pronounced neck swelling that progressed rapidly to involve the tissues between the larynx and the floor of the mouth. “gangrenous indurations of the connective tissues of the neck that advanced to involve the tissues that cover the small muscles between the larynx and the floor of the mouth”.

His first patient was Queen Catherine of Württemberg.

1837 – Ludwig’s Stuttgart colleague, Dr. Camerer in Langeuau Angina Ludovici (Latin angere “to throttle, torment”)

1890William Morrant Baker (1839 – 1896)

The name by which the several forms of submaxillary cellulitis have been chiefly known of late years (angina Ludovici) is an unfortunate one. It has the disadvantage, common to all cases in which a disease is named after its supposed first observer, of giving no clue to the nature or site of the malady; and, in this instance, the term is not appropriate in any sense, inasmuch as Ludwig of Stuttgart, after whom it is named, was not the first author who described it. His description of the disease, for which he proposed the term “gangrenous induration of the cellular tissue of the neck,” appeared in the year 1836; but a well-marked example of the affection had been recorded some years previously (1822) by Dr. Gregory

Baker 1890

Associated Persons

Alternative names
  • Angina Ludovici, Ludwig’s angina
  • Cynanche cellularis of Gregory


Historical articles

Review articles

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Emergency physician MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM with a passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and informatics. Asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | vocortex |

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