Auenbrugger, Leopold

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Auenbrugger, Leopold Gender: M
Josef Leopoldus Auenbrugger
born on 19 November 1722 at 08:00 (= 08:00 AM )
Place Graz, Austria, 47n05, 15e27
Timezone LMT m15e27 (is local mean time)
Data source
Rodden Rating B
Collector: Scholfield
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_scocol.18.gif 26°41' s_mo.18.gif s_aricol.18.gif 09°24 Asc.s_sagcol.18.gif 05°14'

Leopold Auenbrugger


Austrian physician who invented percussion as a diagnostic technique. On the strength of this discovery, he is considered one of the founders of modern medicine.

Auenbrugger graduated as a physician at the age of 22 and then entered the Spanish Military Hospital of Vienna, where he spent 10 years.

He found out that, by applying his ear to the patient and tapping lightly on the chest, one could assess the texture of underlying tissues and organs. This technique of percussive diagnosis had its origins in testing the level of wine casks in the cellar of his father's hotel. With this method, he was able to plot outlines of the heart. It was the first time that a physician could relatively accurately and objectively determine an important sign of diseases. He published his findings in a booklet, but nobody paid much attention to it.

During his ten years of patient study, Auenbrugger confirmed his observations on the diagnostic value of percussion by comparison with post-mortem specimens, and besides made a number of experimental researches on dead bodies. He injected fluid into the pleural cavity, and showed that it was perfectly possible by percussion to tell exactly the limits of the fluid present, and thus to decide when and where efforts should be made for its removal.

His later studies were devoted to tuberculosis. He pointed out how to detect cavities of the lungs, and how their location and size might be determined by percussion. He also recognized that information with regard to the contents of cavities in the lungs and conditions of lung tissue might be obtained by placing the hand on the chest and noting the vibration, or fremitus, produced by the voice and breath. These observations were published in a little book that marks an epoch in the modern history of medicine.

He died on 17 May 1809.

Link to Wikipedia biography


Source Notes

Sy Scholfield quotes Franz Clar's book, "Leopold Auenbrugger, der Erfinder der Percussion des Brustkorbes" (Leuschner & Lubensky, 1867), p. 10: "Joannes Leopoldus ... im Jahre 1722 den 19 November Morgens 8 Uhr geboren." ["Joannes Leopoldus ... born 19 November 1722 at 8 o'clock in the morning"].


  • Vocation : Medical : Physician