Schläfenarterienentzündung mit Erblindung: Berichte über Zeichen einer Arteriitis temporalis im 18. Jahrhundert*

Dieter Schmidt

Keywords: History of Medicine, Ophthalmology, Arteriitis temporalis, Giant Cell Arteriitis, Boerhaave

DOI: 10.17160/josha.3.1.91

Languages: German

Background: The clinical picture of giant cell arteritis was first described in detail by Horton et al. in 1932. In the following decades, abundant articles and some books had been published on this disease. Only a few reports on signs of this disease had been described in former centuries. Methods: Translations of reports written in Latin. Results: Herman van Boerhaave (1668-1738) from Leiden described in his book „De Morbis Oculorum“ (1750) that amaurosis may occur in connection with inflammation of arteries, fever and headache. He thought that amaurosis was caused by compressed vessels by swollen inflamed arteries. Boerhaave’s decisive conception on the development of amaurosis due to inflamed optic nerve vessels is accepted until today. van Boerhaave also reported that visual impairment due to blood loss may be reversible. This observation can be explained by improvement of rheology with a better optic nerve’s circulation. van Boerhaave had described the phenomenon of „amaurosis fugax“. In his book „De Cataracta Glaucomate et Amaurosi. Tractatio“ Lorenz Heister reported on a 46-year-old pale woman who was emaciated and suffered from pressing headache and catarrh, and observed a slowly progressing visual loss during one morning until she was competely blind. These characteristic symptoms correspond to giant cell arteritis. Conclusion: Characteristic signs and symptoms of giant cell arteritis had been already observed in the 18th century that were reported by van Boerhaave und Heister. Previously published in "Der Augenspiegel", November 2015.

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