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March 1983

Raynaud and Molière

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medicine (Dermatology), University of Ottawa, and the Ottawa Civic Hospital, Canada.

Arch Dermatol. 1983;119(3):263-266. doi:10.1001/archderm.1983.01650270081022

Maurice Raynaud (1834-1881) (Fig 1) is remembered primarily for his description of and comments on 25 patients who had "local asphyxia and symmetrical gangrene of the extremities" (Fig 2). He described the series of changes seen in the hands and feet consisting of "pale, cold fingers," "cyanotic colour," and "deep red" color; these findings are called Raynaud's phenomenon. Six of his patients had "local asphyxia"; 19 had gangrene with accompanying pain, swelling, and anesthesia.

Of the nature of this phenomenon, Raynaud wrote the following1(pp7-8):

I propose to demonstrate that there exists a variety of dry gangrene affecting the extremities which is impossible to explain by a vascular obliteration—a variety characterized especially by a remarkable tendency to symmetry, so that it always affects similar parts, the two upper or lower limbs, or the four at the same time; further, in certain cases, the nose and the ears; and I hope

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