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October 26, 1940


JAMA. 1940;115(17):1456-1457. doi:10.1001/jama.1940.02810430046015

In 1883 Banti described a group of cases characterized by primary enlargement of the spleen, a more or less characteristic secondary hypochromic anemia and a chronic course. The disease passed through typical stages characterized in its advanced stage by hemorrhages from the gastrointestinal tract, ascites and terminal liver cirrhosis. The causative factor was an unknown toxin which acted primarily on the spleen and secondarily on the liver. The essential and distinctive pathologic feature of the spleen was "fibro-adénie" in the malpighian bodies, the process having its inception around the penicillate arteries. This concept received its support from Osler, who defined the new disease entity as follows: "An intoxication of unknown nature characterized by great chronicity. There is a preliminary progressive enlargement of the spleen which cannot be correlated with any known cause, anemia of secondary type with leukopenia, a marked tendency to hemorrhage from the lower esophagus, and a terminal