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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 363-364  

On the history of angioedema (From Donato to Strübing): A journey for three centuries

“Pranab”, Ismile, Asansol, West Bengal, India

Date of Web Publication17-May-2019

Correspondence Address:
Amiya Kumar Mukhopadhyay
“Pranab”, Ismile (Near Dharmaraj Mandir), Asansol - 713 301, West Bengal
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/idoj.IDOJ_410_18

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How to cite this article:
Mukhopadhyay AK. On the history of angioedema (From Donato to Strübing): A journey for three centuries. Indian Dermatol Online J 2019;10:363-4

How to cite this URL:
Mukhopadhyay AK. On the history of angioedema (From Donato to Strübing): A journey for three centuries. Indian Dermatol Online J [serial online] 2019 [cited 2021 Oct 24];10:363-4. Available from: https://www.idoj.in/text.asp?2019/10/3/363/255543

“What's in a name? that which we

call a rose

By any other name would smell as sweet.

William Shakespeare (Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene II).

   Introduction Top

The beloved, not the name, may be all important to a lady in love about the man she adores. But when it comes to a disease that took about three centuries to attain a specific name becomes an interesting story in the arena of medical history. Here is a small article on the history and evolution of how an unnamed swelling occurring to skin and mucous membrane transformed into “angioneurotic edema.”.

   The Early Days Top

Marcello Donato (1538–1607) was the first physician to deliver a clear description of angioedema in his book De medicahistoriamrabili libri sex [Figure 1] in 1586 about a young man who developed the disease after consuming an egg. The next report came from Franz Anton Mai (1742–1806) in his book Stolpertus, einjungerArtz am Krankenbette (1777) illustrating a picture of a man of 62 developing a progressive swelling of lips that gradually involved the larynx. The next important and vivid account came from Robert James Graves (1796–1853) who noted: “….sometimes the lips, inside of the mouth, palate, and uvula are attacked giving rise to a very considerable inconvenience.[1]
Figure 1: The title page of De Medica Historia libri Sex by Mercello Donato (1586). (Credit: www.archive.org)

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   The Giant Urticaria Top

It was John Laws Milton (1820–1898), the senior surgeon to St. John's Hospital for diseases of the skin, who published” On giant urticaria” in the sixth issue of volume 22 of the Edinburg Medical Journal in 1876 and subsequently as a 28-page book from London in 1878 that gave a description of a condition about “swelling attacking the skin.” Milton commented that the condition was unknown to the contemporary physicians and described about four patients with this kind of ailment.[2]

   The Story of “two Theses” Top

Eugen Dinkelacker, a doctoral student of Heinrich Ireaenus Quincke (1842–1922) [Figure 2], collected and presented 14 cases as dissertation to the Kiel's Christian-Albrechts University for doctoral degree. Quincke published a case series in 1882 with similar disorders and the condition was eponymously termed” Quincke's oedema” by Felix Mendel in 1902, but it was assumed that he (Quincke) must have been conscious about his pupil's cases. Bannister of Chicago published a case in Chicago Medical Review in 1880 and referring to this along with other case reports including that by Milton, protested against the naming of the condition erroneously on the name of Quincke.[3] Subsequently, Bannister's name was also attached to the condition by some American authors leading to the development of”Bannister's disease.”[1],[4]
Figure 2: Heirich Irenaeus Quincke (1842–1922) (Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File: Heinrich_Quincke.jpg, Accessed on October 29, 2018)

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   Old Disease, New Name Top

Be it Quincke's edema or Bannister's disease, the condition attracted many medical researchers. Paul Strübing (1852–1915) was of opinion regarding an underlying relation between nervous system and edema formation mechanism and finally named the condition as angioneurotic oedema in 1885 … almost three centuries after Donato's first description. William Osler (1850–1920) identified the familial form of this disorder in 1888. Thus, an “orphan disease” received a name, and in recent years, further research led to a clearer view regarding the etiopathology as well as management of this uncommon but grave condition.[4]

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

Reshef A, Kidon M, Leibovich I. The story of angioedema: From Quincke to bradykinin. Clinic Rev Alleg Immunol 2016;51:121-39.  Back to cited text no. 1
Milton JL. On Giant Urticaria. London: Harrison and Sons; 1878.  Back to cited text no. 2
Bannister HM. Acute angioneurotic oedema. J NervMent Dis 1894;21:627.  Back to cited text no. 3
Rook A. The historical background. In: Warin RP, Champion RH, editors. Urticaria. London: W.B. Saunders Company Ltd; 1974.p. 1-9.  Back to cited text no. 4


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]


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