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March 7, 1931


Author Affiliations

From the Section on Urology, the Polyclinic.

JAMA. 1931;96(10):754-759. doi:10.1001/jama.1931.02720360024006

Carbuncle of the kidney may be defined as a metastatic, circumscribed, conglomerate suppurative process, usually caused by Staphylococcus aureus, having its origin in some superficial focus, such as a furuncle, paronychia or carbuncle. Israel1 first described the disease in 1901, referring to it as carbuncle because of its striking similarity to an ordinary superficial carbuncle. That the name has met with general acceptance is evident from its employment in the medical literature of the world. It is adequately descriptive of the condition, although its pathogenesis differs widely from the ordinary skin carbuncle.

A review of the literature reveals only forty-two cases and reference to twenty-two others, the details of which are lacking. The few cases reported not only may denote the rarity of the disease but also may be construed as indicating the difficulty of diagnosis. It is especially interesting to note that perinephric abscess was present in fifteen