Olive without a cause: the story of infantile hypertrophic pyloric stenosis

Richard I Markowitz
Pediatric Radiology 2014, 44 (2): 202-11
For many diseases and medical conditions the clinical recognition and the development of accurate diagnostic methods and the etiological cause precede effective treatment. In the case of infantile hypertrophic pyloric stenosis (HPS), this sequence of events did not happen. Clinical recognition of the entity proceeded directly to the development of curative treatment. Reliable diagnostic imaging methods followed, but a definitive etiology has not been elucidated. This paper reviews the historical aspects of hypertrophic pyloric stenosis, discusses how and why it took so long for this not uncommon disease to be recognized, and highlights the physicians who changed an often fatal disease into an easily diagnosed and treated minor affliction.

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