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December 13, 1919


JAMA. 1919;73(24):1832-1834. doi:10.1001/jama.1919.02610500022007

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In January, 1909, the first case of syphilitic disease of the aorta appeared in the necropsy records of the Massachusetts General Hospital. In this case the spirochetes were first successfully demonstrated by Professor Wright, and thus the clinical entity of specific aortitis was given pathologic confirmation in this country. A recent informal discussion disclosed the fact that no one really knows much about its prognosis, and it was suggested that the medical records should be analyzed to see what light could be thrown on the subject. The importance of specific aortitis is the more apparent when we note that, since the above-mentioned case of January, 1909, the disease has been found in 5.5 per cent, of the hospital necropsies, and in 4.5 per cent. it was in an advanced stage or was the primary cause of death.

In pursuance of the foregoing suggestion, I have carefully examined the 105 records

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