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January 1958

Stokes-Adams Disease: An Account of Important Historical Discoveries

Author Affiliations

San Francisco

From the Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine.

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1958;101(1):130-142. doi:10.1001/archinte.1958.00260130144015

This is a historical account of Stokes-Adams disease, with emphasis on the important advances which have increased our knowledge of the disease in an attempt to discover how these advances came about and the influence they had on medical thinking. Important historical information has been included in many texts on aspects of heart disease, especially those of Hirschfelder 1 and of Lewis,2 and there have been a few papers devoted exclusively to the history of the disease, notably those of Krumbhaar3 and Wilhem His Jr.4 While this manuscript was being prepared a new account has appeared with a somewhat different approach than that used in the present paper.5

The clinical picture which arrested the attention of early doctors was the association of striking central nervous system symptoms with the finding of an unusually slow pulse. The attacks themselves were described as fainting fits, epilepsy, or pseudoapoplexy,

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