Historical Tidbit: Graves’ disease….or is it?
Submitted by Evan Graber, DO
In 1835 an Irish physician Sir Robert Graves first reported 4 women with “violent and long continued palpitations” and enlarged thyroid, giving rise to the eponymous condition now considered autoimmune hyperthyroidism. However, he was not the first to report the findings of what eventually would be called Graves’ disease. From 1786-1815 Caleb Hillier Parry noted 8 patients with goiter, exophthalmos, and palpitations (Edinburgh Med Surg J 1826; 25:366-392) and in 1840, Carl Basedow reported 4 patients with the same symptoms. Adolph van Graefe noted lid lag as an additional eye sign (Deutsche Klinik 1864; 16:158-159). To those in Europe unaware of Graves’ publication in 1835, the condition became known as Basedow disease.