European Journal of Anatomy

Official Journal of The Spanish Society of Anatomy
Cover Volume 17 - Number 3
Eur J Anat, 17 (3): 190-192 (2013)

The “Angle of Louis”

Alberto Coscione1, L. Dixon2 and H. Ellis3

1Department of Urology, Charing Cross Hospital, London, 2Department of Orthopaedics, Charing Cross Hospital, London and 3Department of Anatomy, King’s College University, London, UK

ABSTRACT The 'angle of Louis' is a well-known anatomical landmark. Formed by the junction between the manubrium and sternal body, it marks the level of the 2nd rib and defines the boundary between the superior and inferior mediastinum. Despite our familiarity with this angle, there remains confusion over the eponym. This is reflected by the variations of the name in the literature - Louis, Ludovici, Ludovicus, Ludwick and Ludwig - and the different people it has been attributed to. Sources have referenced the French clinician Antoine Louis, the French surgeon Alexandre Louis and the German physician Wilhelm Friedrich von Ludwig. Interestingly on investigating these potential candidates we found no formal description of the sternal angle in their writings. Pierre Alexandre comes closest however, when he describes a ‘prominence’ in the upper part of the chest which he relates to severe emphysema. We propose that the sternal angle was named in honour of Pierre Alexandre, although he did not himself characterise it as an anatomical landmark.

Keywords: Angle of Louis, Medical Eponyms, Origin, Etymology, Anatomical landmark, Historical

European Journal of anatomy
ISSN 2340-311X (Online)