Da Costa's syndrome

Alternative eponyms

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A disorder combining effort fatigue, dyspnea, a sighing respiration, palpitation, sweating, tremor, an aching sensation in the left praecordium, utter fatigue, an exaggeration of symptoms upon efforts, and occasionally complete syncope.

Description

A disorder combining effort fatigue, dyspnea, a sighing respiration, palpitation, sweating, tremor, an aching sensation in the left praecordium, utter fatigue, an exaggeration of symptoms upon efforts, and occasionally complete syncope. Symptoms and signs of this syndrome closely resemble those of emotion and fear, rather that those of «effort» in normal subject, and depend on central stimulation.

The disorder is most commonly seen in soldiers during time of stress, especially when an element og fear is involved. It was frequently observed in the American Civil War and World War I soldiers. It may also occur in young males or females who have suffered disruption in their emotional life.

The syndrome was first described by Arthur Bowen Richards Myers (1838-1921) in 1870. Da Costa’s publications in 1871 gave an account of observations made during the Civil War.

Bibliography

  • A. B. R. Myers:
    On the etiology and prevalence of diseases of the heart among soldiers.
    London, J. Churchill, 1870.
  • J. M. Da Costa:
    On irritable heart; a clinical study of a form of functional cardiac disorder and its consequences.
    American Journal of the Medical Sciences, Thorofare, N.J., 1871, 61: 17–52.
  • T. Lewis:
    The Soldier's Heart and the Effort Syndrome. New York, Paul B. Hoeber, 1919.

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