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December 1961

Idiopathic Polyserositis

Author Affiliations


Present address: Veterans Administration Hospital, Lake City, Fla.; Chief, Medical Service, VA Hospital, Dayton; Assistant Professor of Medicine, Ohio State University, Columbus.

Arch Intern Med. 1961;108(6):872-883. doi:10.1001/archinte.1961.03620120056009

Historical Background  In the latter part of the 19th century and for some 20 years thereafter considerable interest was generated by the entity, polyserositis. In its broadest aspects it is characterized by development of a thick fibrous investment involving the various serosal membranes, specifically the pericardium, pleura, and peritoneum with transudate in the respective cavities. In the past 25 years interest in this subject has practically vanished, as evidenced by the paucity of references in modern literature. Current standard textbooks of medicine and pathology make only brief reference to this subject, leaving much to be desired. Confusion in terminology, as shown by numerous descriptive designations, has permeated discussions of the disease. Thus, it has been called Pick's disease, pericarditic pseudocirrhosis of the liver, Concato's disease, chronic hyperplastic perihepatitis, polyorrhomenitis, and perivisceritis.Because of the brief and apparently inadequate reference to this subject in current medical texts, it was felt that