Brudziński’s Sign

Other Known Aliasesnone

Definitionforced flexion of the neck causes a reflex flexion of the hips

Clinical Significance This maneuver is due to meningeal irritation and inflammation and can be seen in meningitis, subarachnoid hemorrhage, and encephalitis. It is one of the two classic physical examination signs for bacterial meningitis, but does not have robust sensitivity nor specificity for the disease. It is now relegated to historical context.

HistoryNamed after Józef Polikarp Brudiński (1874-1917), who was a Polish pediatrician and received his medical doctorate from the University of Moscow in 1897. He practiced at the Anne-Marie children’s hospital in Lodz and was a guiding figure in turning this institution into a model teaching hospital. In 1910, he then was able to design a children’s hospital in Warsaw with financial backing from philanthropist Sophie Szlenker. During this transition period, he also founded the first Polish journal of pediatrics. He best known for his work in pediatric infectious diseases and has his name attributed to several other physical examination findings in meningitis. His most famous was first described and published in 1909 in The Medical Archives for Infants.


  1. Firkin BG and Whitwirth JA.  Dictionary of Medical Eponyms. 2nd ed.  New York, NY; Parthenon Publishing Group. 1996.
  2. Bartolucci S, Forbis P.  Stedman’s Medical Eponyms.  2nd ed.  Baltimore, MD; LWW.  2005.
  3. Yee AJ, Pfiffner P. (2012).  Medical Eponyms (Version 1.4.2) [Mobile Application Software].  Retrieved http://itunes.apple.com.
  4. Whonamedit – dictionary of medical eponyms. http://www.whonamedit.com
  5. Up To Date. www.uptodate.com
  6. Mehndiratta M, Nayak R, Garg H, Kumar M, Pandey S. Appraisal of Kernig’s and Brudzinski’s sign in meningitis. Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology. 2012; 15(4):287-8. [pubmed]
  7. Thomas KE, Hasbun R, Jekel J, Quagliarello VJ. The diagnostic accuracy of Kernig’s sign, Brudzinski’s sign, and nuchal rigidity in adults with suspected meningitis. Clinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. 2002; 35(1):46-52. [pubmed]
  8. J. Brudziñski. Un signe nouveau sur les membres inférieurs dans les méningites chez les enfants (signe de la nuque). Archives de médecine des enfants, Paris 1909, 12: 745-752.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s