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August 5, 1911


Author Affiliations


JAMA. 1911;LVII(6):452-458. doi:10.1001/jama.1911.04260080016006

The first definite description of the peculiar group of symptoms to which Lucian Corvisart afterward gave the name "tetany" was by a German, Steinheim, in 1830. A year later Dance, a Frenchman, published several cases under the name of "intermittent tetanus" and during the next thirty years the French school was most active in recording clinical features of the affection, the classical papers of Trousseau being the most notable of this period. After 1870 the scene of activity was shifted to the other side of the Rhine, probably because the disease appeared less frequently in France and became more common in Germany. The most important communications of the next decade were those of Kussmaul, Riegel, Erb and Chvostek, senior, while the description of the relation of tetany to total thyroidectomy in 1880 by Nathan Weiss, writing from Billroth's clinic, and the many papers which followed slowly the discovery of the