Moritz Roth (1839-1914) was a Swiss pathologist.

He is eponymously associated with Roth spots (1872), which he first observed in the retina of patients with septicaemia. Dr Moritz Roth contributed numerous articles to the European medical journals, along with works on medical history.

He wrote a definitive biography of Andreas Vesalius Bruxellensis (1514-1564), one of the founders of human anatomy, with 27 editions published between 1886 and 2010 in 4 languages.

  • Born on December 25, 1839, Basel, Switzerland
  • Education at the Universities of Würzburg, Göttingen, and Berlin
  • 1864 – Graduated with M.D. degree, University of Basel, Switzerland
  • 1866 – Appointed privatdozent (‘adjunct professor’), University of Basel
  • 1868 – Appointed privatdozent, University of Greifswald, Germany
  • 1872 – Assistant Professor, University of Basel
  • 1874 – Professor of pathology and pathological anatomy, University of Basel
  • 1898 – Resigned
  • Died on November 4, 1914, Gottlieben

Medical Eponyms
Roth spot (1872)

Roth spots [aka Litten sign, Litten spots ] Retinal haemorrhages with white or pale centers, associated commonly with subacute bacterial endocarditis, and immune complex mediated vasculitis.

  • Roth’s original description of his eponymous sign was retinal white spots and separate scattered haemorrhages (retinal red spots) in close proximity to the optic disc in patients with septicaemia.
  • Moritz Litten (1845-1907) first used the term ‘Roth spot’ in his 1876 article (published 1878) to describe the current understanding of Roth spots, when he observed retinal haemorrhages with a white centre in patients with endocarditis. Sometimes referred to as Litten sign
roth spots

Major Publications


Doctor in Australia. Keen interest in internal medicine, medical education, and medical history.

BA MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM. Emergency physician, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.  Passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | Twitter |

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