Karl Rokitansky

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Rokitansky, Karl


Born Feb. 19, 1804, in Königgrätz, Bohemia, now Hradec Králové, in the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic; died July 23, 1878, in Vienna. Austrian physician of Czech descent. Member (1848) and president (from 1869) of the Vienna Academy of Sciences; member of the Paris Academy of Sciences (1870).

Rokitansky studied at the universities of Prague and Vienna. From 1834 to 1875 he was a professor of pathological anatomy at the University of Vienna and prosector at a municipal hospital. In 1844 he organized the first independent chair of pathological anatomy with a museum of specimens in Vienna.

Rokitansky was a prominent representative of descriptive pathological anatomy, which is closely associated with clinical practice. He morphologically described gastric-ulcer perforation, intestinal strangulation, spontaneous ruptures of the aorta, and congenital defects of the septa of the heart. As a theorist, Rokitansky was a humoral pathologist, believing that dyscra-sia, which is the disruption and improper combination of the chemical composition of body fluids, was the cause of a number of diseases.


Die Defecte der Scheidewände des Herzens. Vienna, 1875.
In Russian translation:
Rukovodstvo k patologicheskoi anatomii, parts 1–3. Moscow, 1844–49.


Vail’, S. S. “Gumoral’naia patologiia Rokitanskogo (K 100-letiiu ego Rukovodstva patologicheskoi anatomii.)” In Sovetskii vrachebnyi sbornik, fasc. 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1946.
Vail’, S. S. “R. Virkhovi K. Rokitanskii.” Arkiv patologii, 1971, vol. 33, no. 9.