- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Reginald Heber Fitz

Born  1843
Died  1913

Related eponyms

American physician, born May 5, 1843, Chelsea, Massachusets; died September 30, 1913, Brookline, Massachusetts.

Biography of Reginald Heber Fitz

Reginald Heber Fitz was the son of Albert and Eliza Roberta (Nye) Fitz. He studied at Harvard University, where he received his doctorate in 1868. Following a prolonged stay in Vienna, Berlin, and Paris, he settled in Boston, teaching pathological anatomy and general pathology at the Harvard Medical School, from 1873 as assistant professor, professor from 1879 to 1892. In 1879 he married Elisabeth Loring Clarke, whith whom he had four children.

His most important works concern the appendicitis and acute pancreatitis. In 1886 he demonstrated the pathology of veriform appendix, and termed the disease appendicitis. Fitz described three forms of acute pancreatitis, and made the earliest suggestion that disseminated fat necrosis is the result of a pathologic process in the pancreas.

We thank Patrick Jucker-Kupper, Switzerland, for information submitted.


  • Perforating inflammation of the vermiform appendix, with special reference to its early diagnosis and treatment.
    (Transactions of the Association of American Physicians, Philadelphia, 1886, 1: 107-144.
    Fitz' syndrome/Balser's fatty necrosis).
    A conclusive demonstration of the pathology and symptoms of disease of the vermiform appendix. Fitz invented the term "appendicitis". His paper, which records 25 cases collected by himself, convinced physicians of the need to remove the appendix immediately if threatening symptoms did not subside within 24 hours. Reprinted in Medical Classics, 1938, 2: 459-491.
  • The Diagnosis and Medical Treatment of Acute Intestinal Obstruction. Boston, 1889.
  • Acute pancreatitis; a consideration of pancreatic hemorrhage, hemorrhagic suppurative, and gangrenous pancreatitis, and of disseminated fat-necrosis.
    Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, 1889, 120: 181-187, 205-207, 229-235.
    Fitz' syndrome/Balser's fatty necrosis.
  • Walter Bradford Cannon (1871-1945), C. A. L. Binger and R. Fitz:
    Experimental hyperthyroidism.
    American Journal of Physiology, Bethesda, Maryland, 1915, 36: 363-364.
    First succesful experimental production of exophthalmic goitre.
    Published two years after Fitz' death.

What is an eponym?

An eponym is a word derived from the name of a person, whether real or fictional. A medical eponym is thus any word related to medicine, whose name is derived from a person.

What is Whonamedit?

Whonamedit.com is a biographical dictionary of medical eponyms. It is our ambition to present a complete survey of all medical phenomena named for a person, with a biography of that person.


Whonamedit? does not give medical advice.
This survey of medical eponyms and the persons behind them is meant as a general interest site only. No information found here must under any circumstances be used for medical purposes, diagnostically, therapeutically or otherwise. If you, or anybody close to you, is affected, or believe to be affected, by any condition mentioned here: see a doctor.