Leo Buerger

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Leo Buerger (English /bɜːrɡər/; German /byrgər/) (September 13, 1879 in Vienna – October 6, 1943 in New York City) 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.

He was married twice; his first wife was Germaine Schnitzer, a French pianist trained in Vienna. They had two children before they divorced in 1927.[1]


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


  1. ^ Joseph Cowan, "Mrs. Buerger Cites Other Loves of Noted Surgeon" Daily News (December 20, 1927): 337. via Newspapers.com
  • 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