Leo Buerger

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Leo Buerger (English /bʌrɡər/; German /byrgər/) (September 13, 1879 in Vienna; October 6, 1943 in New York) was an Austrian American pathologist, surgeon and urologist. Buerger's disease is named for him.

Family and education[edit]

In 1880 his family emigrated to the United States, and he attended several elementary schools in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia.

At a New York City college from 1897, he obtained a (B.A.) then a general (M.A. 1901), followed by medical studies at the (College of Physicians and Surgeons (M.D. 1901). He graduated from Columbia University in New York.


Initially Buerger practiced at the Lenox Hill Hospital (1901-1904), then the Mount Sinai Hospital (1904–05), then as a volunteer in the surgical clinic at Wrocław with study visits to Vienna and Paris. From 1907 to 1920, Buerger worked as a pathologist and surgeon at Mount Sinai Hospital. There in 1908 he gave the first accurate pathological description of thromboangiitis obliterans or Buerger's disease, a disease of the circulatory system associated with smoking first reported by Felix von Winiwarter in 1879.

Later, as a surgeon, he practiced at several other clinics in New York: Beth David Hospital, Bronx Hospital, and Wyckoff Heights Hospital, Brooklyn. In 1917 he received a professorship at the Medical Urology Outpatient Clinic New York, which he held until 1930. He then took up a similar position of the College of Medical Evangelists, Los Angeles (California), but worked there for only a short time before returning to New York to work in private practice.


Buerger alone or in collaboration wrote more than 160 articles in various scientific journals.

  • Thrombo-Angiitis Obliterans: A study of the vascular lesions leading to presenile spontaneous gangrene. Am J Med Sci 136 (1908) 567
  • The pathology of the vessels in cases of gangrene of the lower extremities due to so-called endarteritis obliterans. Proc NY Pathol Soc 8 (1908) 48 Proc Soc NY Pathol 8 (1908) 48
  • Diseases of the Circulatory Extremities. 1924


  • E. J. Wormer: Angiology - Phlebology. Syndromes and their creators. Munich 1991, pp 225–234
  • P. Rentchnick: Le centenaire de la naissance du Dr Leo Buerger. 192 Méd Hygiène 38 (1980) 192
  • G. W. Kaplan: Leo Buerger (1879-1973). Invest Urol 11 (1974) 342-3
  • A. Birch: Leo Buerger, 1879-1943. Practitioner 211 (1973) 823
  • S. Kagan: Jewish Medicine. Boston 1952, p. 71