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February 1966

Transverse White Lines in the Fingernails After Acute and Chronic Renal Failure

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Medicine, Medical College of Georgia, and the Division of Renal Diseases and Georgia Heart Association Laboratories for Cardiovascular Research, Eugene Talmadge Memorial Hospital, Augusta.

Arch Intern Med. 1966;117(2):276-279. doi:10.1001/archinte.1966.03870080120020

WHITE transverse lines affecting the fingernails, although classically associated with arsenical poisoning (Mees' lines),1-3 have been noted after a variety of systemic illnesses, including: thallium toxicity, leprosy, malaria, fluorosis, psoriasis, cardiac insufficiency,4 pellagra,5 Hodgkin's disease,6 pneumonia,7 myocardial infarction,8 sickle-cell anemia9 and infectious fevers (Reil's lines).10-13 It has been pointed out14 that it is probably the acute and serious nature of the underlying illness which provokes the formation of such white transverse bands, presumably through a nonspecific effect on nail growth, and in this sense they are often regarded 2,11,12,15 as the equivalent of Beau's lines,16 or transverse grooves, which have been described after a similarly varied group of illnesses.17

It is the purpose of this paper to record the appearance of white transverse lines in the fingernails of six patients after treatment of acute and chronic renal failure.

Report of Cases 

Case 1 (March, 1962).  —A 22-year-old farm worker had been

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