During the past four years, five patients with Milroy's disease, or chronic hereditary lymphedema, have been treated by us (figure). These were found in two generations of a family. Four additional cases in other members of the family were described to us, but we did not see them. Because of the obscure nature and relative rarity of this condition and because of our experiences with various forms of treatment, these cases are being presented.
In searching through the English literature published since 1892, when this condition was first described, we have been able to find approximately 30 similar families, comprising approximately 125 cases. A number of theories concerning the cause of the disease have been suggested by various authors, but no definite cause has been proved. We have attempted a thorough investigation of each of these cases along the conventional lines and along lines suggested by previous authors. No constructive