December 1, 2010

Saint's triad

An interesting little thing to remind us of the possibility that a patient can have more than one diagnosis at presentation - something every emergency physician should be aware of! Saint's triad is the simultaneous diagnosis of cholelithiasis, hiatal hernia and diverticulitis:
Saint's triad is named after the British surgeon Prof C.F.M.Saint, the term's eponym, who established the first school of surgery in South Africa. He emphasized the importance of considering the possibility of multiple separate diseases in a patient whenever his or her history and the results of the physical examination were atypical of any single condition.[1] Traditionally, there is thought to be no pathophysiological basis for the coexistence of these three diseases. Saint emphasized that more than one disease may be responsible for a patient's clinical signs and symptoms, and his Triad provides a counterexample to the commonly used diagnostic principle that "the explanation of any phenomenon should make as few assumptions as possible," also known as Occam's Razor .[2] The principle underlying Saint's triad is also expressed as Hickam's dictum.

Source: Wikipedia