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Willard H. Willis, M.D.
JAMA. 1951;147(7):654-655. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.73670240018006h.
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Recently, benign paroxysmal peritonitis has been recognized as a clinical entity.1 Although only a few cases have been reported, it has commanded considerable interest in recent years, especially in relation to a larger group of periodic diseases of unknown cause.2

The diagnosis is based on the clinical characteristics of the syndrome and the ruling-out of other types of peritonitis. These clinical findings include periodic bouts of abdominal pain accompanied with fever, a varying degree of leukocytosis, and the physical findings of peritonitis. The duration of the paroxysms may last a few days to two or more weeks. At times the abdominal pain is very severe and the abdominal tenderness marked. Involuntary spasm of the abdominal muscles, constipation, and vomiting are frequently present. At times the region in which pain is found includes the lower portions of the chest, and the pain is aggravated by breathing. The episodes usually


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