Section : History & Terminology

Quincke’s Oedema (Angiedema): who was Quincke ?

  • Although not used frequently in English, *Quincke’s edema refers to a German physician and surgeon. His name was Dr Heinrich Iränus Quincke.
  • He was born in Frankfurt in 1842 and died there in 1922.
  • He was a subordinate physician (Assistentarzt) at the age of 28 and became chair of the department of internal medicine at the University of Bern three years later.
  • Later, he returned to Germany and became chair at the university of Kiel.
  • His contributions to medicine were numerous, angioedema is the most famous and carries his name.
  • Other discoveries and observation are also linked to hist name as:
    • Quincke’s sign: a sign of aortic insufficency
    • Quincke’s puncture: the classical lumbar puncture. He wasn’t the first one to do it put introduced it as a diagnostic tool.

*Quincke’s edema is also known as* angioedema (angiodema), angioneurotic edema.

Clinical perls on Angioedema:

  • It is important to distinguish hereditary angi-edema (very rare) from the other angioedemas.
  • It is frequently located on the face but other areas can be involved.
  • Edema appearing in joint areas can be deceptive.


Dr Christophe Hsu – dermatologist. Geneva, Switzerland

Source of information: Harms M. Dermatologica Helvetica (The Swiss Journal of Dermatology and Venereology)