Roth spots


Roth spots: Retinal haemorrhages with white or pale centres, commonly associated with subacute bacterial endocarditis and immune complex mediated vasculitis.

These spots may also be found in cases of leukaemia, diabetes, hypertensive and HIV retinopathy


1872Moritz Roth (1839-1914) originally described retinal white spots and separate scattered haemorrhages (retinal red spots) in close proximity to the optic disc in patients with septicaemia (retinitis septica). Roth originally attributed the retinal spots to disseminated foci of bacterial abscesses; however, the white-centre of retinal haemorrhages in Roth spots are currently thought to be fibrin-platelet plugs.

1876 – Moritz Litten (1845-1907) first used the term ‘Roth spot’ article (published 1878) to describe the current understanding of Roth spots, when he observed retinal haemorrhages with a white centre in patients with endocarditis. Sometime referred to as Litten spots/sign.

Associated Persons

Alternative names

  • Litten sign, Litten spots
  • Roth’s spots


eponymictionary CTA


the names behind the name

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

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