Archives of Medicine and Health Sciences

: 2016  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 149--150

Armand Trousseau

Siddharth Pramod Dubhashi, Siddharth Choudhary 
 Department of Surgery, Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Hospital, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

Correspondence Address:
Siddharth Pramod Dubhashi
A-2/103, Shivranjan Towers, Someshwarwadi, Pashan, Pune - 411 008, Maharashtra


Armand Trousseau was born in 1801 in France. He was recognized for his work on yellow fever and laryngeal phthisis. He occupied several prestigious positions and won numerous laurels. He made several significant contributions to medicine such as Trousseau sign of latent tetany and Trousseau sign of malignancy. He was an excellent clinician and a revered teacher who appreciated the value of bedside observation. He died of visceral malignancy in 1867.

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Dubhashi SP, Choudhary S. Armand Trousseau.Arch Med Health Sci 2016;4:149-150

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Dubhashi SP, Choudhary S. Armand Trousseau. Arch Med Health Sci [serial online] 2016 [cited 2022 May 24 ];4:149-150
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Armand Trousseau [Figure 1],[1] born on October 14, 1801, in Tours, Indre-et-Loire, France, began his medical studies in his native town as a student of Pierre Fidele Bretonneau. He later pursued his training in Paris where he completed his doctorate in 1825 and became an adjunct faculty in 1827.[2] His early recognition in Paris is attributed to his work on yellow fever and laryngeal phthisis. In 1830, Trousseau became Medecin des hopitaux through concours. With Belloc, he wrote a laryngeal classic in 1837 for which he received the prize of the French Academy of Medicine, and with Pidoux, a test on therapeutics in 1839. He was then appointed as a physician in the hospital, St. Antoine in Paris.[3]{Figure 1}

Salient contributions of Trousseau:[2],[3]

First to undertake tracheotomy (1831).Trousseau-Jackson tracheal dilator.Thoracocentesis (1843).Coined the term “aphasia” and “forme fruste “.First description of hemochromatosis.Monograph on laryngeal phthisis. Trousseau sign of latent tetany (1861).Trousseau sign of malignancy (Trousseau Syndrome) (1865).Trousseau-von Bonsdorff Test.[4]Trousseau-Lallemand bodies — Small gelatinous concretions in seminal fluid (Bence Jones cylinders).Trousseau point — Painful neuralgia at the spinous process of the vertebra below which arises the offending nerve.Trousseau spot — A line of redness resulting from drawing a point across the skin, especially notable in cases of meningitis.Trousseau phenomenon — Exertion of pressure on a nerve trunk determines a tetanic contraction of the corresponding muscles.

Trousseau sign of latent tetany:[5],[6] On inflating the sphygmomanometer cuff above systolic blood pressure for several minutes, there is evidence of muscle contraction including flexion of the wrist and metacarpophalangeal joints, hyperextension of fingers, and flexion of thumb on the palm, suggestive of neuromuscular excitability caused by hypocalcemia (“main d' accoucheur “–hand of the obstetrician).

Trousseau-von Bonsdorff test:[4] This has been correlated with the presence of Trousseau sign of latent tetany. The test is performed immediately after deflating the sphygmomanometer. The patient is instructed to breathe deeply at a rate of 40 breaths/min and is then observed for the previously described carpopedal spasm.

Trousseau sign of malignancy:[7],[8] Trousseau noted that some patients who presented with unexpected, unusual, or migratory thrombosis, later manifested as a visceral malignancy. This description was later elaborated by Sack et al .,[9] in which Trousseau syndrome was reported as associated with chronic disseminated intravascular coagulopathy. Trousseau attributed thromboembolism in malignancy to changes in blood composition rather than local inflammatory or mechanical forces.

In 1861, he published his two-volume text Clinique Medicale de l'Hotel Dieu which contains description of diseases such as measles, rubella, mumps, diphtheria, and neonatal syphilis. Trousseau was a great teacher and many of his students achieved distinction including Dieulafoy, Brown-Sequard, and Lasagna.[3] He diagnosed the sign of malignancy he had described on himself, succumbing shortly thereafter on June 27, 1867, due to a visceral malignancy.

The personality of Armand Trousseau reflects an amalgamation of attributes such as an excellent clinical acumen, liking for bedside teaching and elements of integrity and generosity.

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Conflicts of interest

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1Available from: . [Last accessed on 2016 Feb 02].
2Biography. Available from: . [Last accessed on 2016 Feb 02].
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8Samuels MA, King ME, Balis U. Case records of the Massachusetts General Hospital. Weekly clinicopathological exercises. Case 31-2002. A 61-year-old man with headache and multiple infarcts. N Engl J Med 2002;347:1187-94.
9Sack GH Jr., Levin J, Bell WR. Trousseau's syndrome and other manifestations of chronic disseminated coagulopathy in patients with neoplasms: Clinical, pathophysiologic, and therapeutic features. Medicine (Baltimore) 1977;56:1-37.