Benediktos Adamantiades

During the annual meeting of the Medical Society of Athens on November 15, 1930 Benediktos Adamantiades (1875-1962) (Fig. 1), Greek ophthalmologist from Prussa, Asia minor (nowadays Bursa, Turkey)1-3, presented in a lecture with the title "A case of relapsing iritis with hypopyon ", a 20-year-old male patient with the three cardinal signs of the disease. The disease had begun at the age of 18 with edema and ulcerations at the left leg diagnosed as thrombophlebitis. During the following 2 years (1928-1930) the patient was developing recurrent iritis with hypopyon in both eyes which led to blindness and atrophy of the optic nerve, scrotal ulcers healing with scars, oral aphthous ulcers, and a sterile arthritis of both knees. The latter three signs were recurrent. Bacterial cultures of knee and anterior eye chamber punctures were sterile and the inoculation experiments in animals were negative while staphylococci had grown in cultures from scrotal ulcers and a tonsilar abscess. In the same year, the lecture was published in the Proceedings of the Medical Society of Athens4 (Fig. 2) and in the French journal Annales d'Oculistique a year later5. Adamantiades put the genital ulcers, the arthritis and the ocular signs together as signs of one single disease. He referred to important previous publications6,7 describing similar cases and backed the hypothesis of a bacterial, staphylococcal, focal illness which had been initiated by Gilbert8.

Figure 1. Benediktos Adamantiades (1875-1962)

Figure 2, Original text of B. Adamantiades at the meeting of the Medical Society of Athens on November 15, 1930 proving his belief that his reported case constituted a new clinical entity.

In 1946, Adamantiades reported on 2 farther patients and defined thrombophlebitis as 4th cardinal sign of the disease9. Later on, he presented the first classification of the disease by describing the ocular, mucocutaneous, and systemic forms in a review work10. He pointed out that the disease could occur for years as a monosymptomatic or oligosymptomatic disorder and that eye involvement and severe prognosis were more common in men than in women. In this work he also proposed the first diagnostic criteria. In 1958, Adamantiades published his last work on the neurological complications of the disease11.

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