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To the Editor:—
In contemporary medical literature we find a lively interchange of the expressions "icterus index" and "icteric index," with the apparent indication that these terms are synonymous. Perhaps it is time to remind authors that the proper expression is "icterus index" and not "icteric index."In The Journal of July 3 is an article "Pyuria of the Newborn Treated with Sulfathiazole" by Florman and Bass, in which icterus index is mentioned in case 1 and icteric index in case 2. These terms are not interchangeable and do not mean the same thing. Again, in the text of "The Physiological Basis of Medical Practice" by Best and Taylor, ed. 3, 1943, we find the "icteric index" mentioned on page 780.Icteric is an adjective and means "relating to or marked by jaundice" (Stedman), while icterus is a noun meaning jaundice. Icterus index means the index or measure of jaundice.
Waldman S. ICTERUS INDEX. JAMA. 1943;122(14):967. doi:10.1001/jama.1943.02840310059025
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