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April 1921


Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1921;27(4):406-420. doi:10.1001/archinte.1921.00100100022002

Hemochromatosis is a chronic disease of males occurring during middle life. Abbott1 has reported one authentic case in a woman. It is characterized by (1) a pigmentation of the skin that varies from yellow to ashen gray and involves by preference the exposed parts, the axillae, and the genitals; (2) cirrhosis of the liver with moderate enlargement; (3) slight enlargement of the spleen; (4) fibrosis of the pancreas and lymph nodes; (5) hyperglycemia with or without glycosuria.

It is not a common disease. There are records of but four cases of genuine hemochromatosis among 5,000 recent necropsies in Bellevue Hospital. Fuchter2 found only three instances of this disease in the clinical records of the Johns Hopkins Hospital, covering 106,000 admissions.

Clinically, hemochromatosis may easily be confused with other diseases attended by pigmentation of the skin. The pigment may not be visible. It may be late in its occurrence. It is