The Death of a Male Musician With a Mysterious Malady

Albert B. Lowenfels, MD


October 03, 2007

How Would the Patient Be Treated Today?

Even though we cannot determine the exact cause of Mozart's death, we can be confident that in the current era Mozart would be successfully treated and would have been unlikely to die at age 35. Venesection, which may have hastened his death, is no longer practiced except for rare diseases such as polycythemia. Antibiotics would control the common causes of infection. Antihelminthic drugs are available to treat trichinosis. If renal failure caused Mozart's death, dialysis would have been life-sustaining. As a young person he would be an ideal candidate for renal transplantation, perhaps from a related living donor (parent or sister) or from an unrelated donor.

If indeed Mozart had a subdural hematoma as a complication of a skull fracture, a computed tomography (CT) scan would disclose the lesion, which would require a craniotomy to remove the clot. We can predict that if he had been born now, Mozart would have lived several more decades, and we can only imagine how much more music he would have composed during those extra years.


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