Dr. Lazar (Laza) K. Lazarević (1851-1891)

The founder of Serbian neurology and the author who first described and published the straight leg raising test

Sanja Drača


Medical publications of Lazar K. Lazarević

A title page of Lazarević’s paper “Paralysis agitans

A title page of Lazarević’s paper “Paralysis agitans- One case of this disease” published in Serbian Archives of Medicine in 1887 (with courtesy of Serbian Archives of Medicine and Serbian Medical Association)

In addition to being one of the leading and most outstanding physicians in Serbia of his time, Lazar K. Lazarević was also an enthusiastic scientist. With his scientific work, he gave invaluable contribution to the development of medicine in Serbia.

At the meetings of the Serbian Medical Association, he regularly submitted reports on his own observations and medical cases from his practice. Dr. Lazarević was constantly following the development of medicine. Medical problems that he described in his papers and presentations, which were submitted for the meetings of the Serbian Medical Association, impress us because of their precision and objectivity even today, in the era of advanced medical technology. Unfortunately, many of his works remain unfinished.

Although his professional career was tragically short (1879-1890), in those eleven years, he authored seventy eight scientific papers and observations (1). The circumstances prevailing in Serbia in the second part of the 19th century forced him to develop his interests in different branches of medicine. Dr. Lazarević was a prolific writer who rote on diverse topics such as neurology, internal medicine, infectious diseases, paediatrics, dermatology, surgery, psychiatry, ophthalmology, gynaecology, toxicology and public health.

His most important contributions to medical science were devoted to diverse topics in the field of neurology.
Dr. Lazarević wrote on aphasia, spinal nosology, muscular dystrophy, brain tumors, meningitis and treatment of chorea. He gave the first description of Parkinson’s disease in this region (2). Thanks to some original scientific observations based on his clinical work, his scientific work reached the highest level.

However, his greatest contribution to the field of neurology and to the medical science in general is his description of the straight leg raising test, used to diagnose lumbar root compression.


  1. Kanjuh V, Pavlović B. Dr Laza K. Lazarević as physician-scientist (1851-1891). Lives and work of the Serbian scientists. Ed. Sarić MR. Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts: Biographies and Bibliographies. Volume IV, II Section, Belgrade, 1998, 3-32.
  2. Lazarević LK. Paralysis agitans. Srp Arh Celok Lek 1887; 9: 186-197.