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Gilbert's syndrome

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Gilbert's syndrome is probably one of the most common syndromes known. It is a hereditary, congenital, benign, chronic, intermittent hyperbilirubinemia. A disorder which presents with fluctuating jaundice in the absence of any specific symptoms, but there is an excess of unconjugated bilirubin present in the urine. Both sexes affected; male to female ratio 4: Jaundice may be detected shortly after birth or later in life. Scleral jaundice is a constant factor. Asthenia, fatigue, anxiety, nausea, and abdominal pain occur in most cases. The symptoms may be precipitated by exertion, alcohol, or infection. It is most commonly diagnosed by chance investigation. It is a familial disorder, transmitted as an autosomal dominant trait.

In the English literature the term Gilbert's syndrome is commonly used, in German literature it is Meulengracht's.


  • A. Gilbert, M. J. Castaigne, P. Lereboullet:
    De l’ictère familial. Contribution à l’étude de la diathèse biliaire.
    Bulletin de la Société des médecins des hôpitaux de Paris, 1900, 17: 948-959.
    Castaigne and Lereboullet were colleagues of Gilbert.
  • A. Gilbert, P. Lereboullet:
    La cholémie simple familiale. Semaine médicale, Paris, 1901, 21: 241-243.
  • E. Meulengracht:
    Icterus intermittens juvenilis (chronischer intermittierender juveniler Subikterus).
    Klinische Wochenschrift, Berlin, 1939, 45: 118-121.

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