Pathognomonic (often misspelled as "pathognomic" and sometimes as "pathomnemonic") is an adjective of Greek origin (παθογνωμονικό [σύμπτωμα] ), often used in medicine, which means "diagnostic for a particular disease". A pathognomonic sign is a particular sign whose presence means, beyond any doubt, that a particular disease is present. It is derived from the Greek "páthos" (πάθος, disease) and gnōmon (γνώμον, "judge"). Labelling a sign or symptom "pathognomonic" represents a marked intensification of a "diagnostic" sign or symptom.

While some findings may be classic, typical or highly suggestive in a certain condition, they may not occur uniquely in this condition and therefore may not directly imply a specific diagnosis. A pathognomonic finding on the other hand allows immediate diagnosing, since there are no other conditions in the differential diagnosis. A pathognomonic sign or symptom can sometimes be absent in a certain disease, since the term only implies that when it is present, the doctor instantly knows the patient's illness.

Singular pathognomonic signs are relatively uncommon. Examples of pathognomonic findings include Koplik's spots inside the mouth in measles, the palmar xanthomata seen on the hands of people suffering from hyperlipoproteinemia, or a tetrad of rash, arthralgia, abdominal pain and kidney disease in a child with Henoch-Schönlein purpura.

Pathognomonic signs

None or very few of the examples here are pathognomonic in the true sense of the word. For example, Parkinsonism is not only seen in Parkinson's disease.

ee also

*Medical sign
*List of eponymous medical signs

External links

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  • Pathognomonic — Pa*thog no*mon ic, a. [Gr. ? skilled in judging of diseases; ? a disease + ? skilled: cf. F. pathognomonique. See {Gnomic}.] (Med.) Specially or decisively characteristic of a disease; indicating with certainty a disease; as, a pathognomonic… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • pathognomonic — (adj.) 1640s (implied in pathognomonical), from PATHO (Cf. patho ) + gnomonikos able to judge, from gnomon one who knows (see GNOMON (Cf. gnomon)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • pathognomonic — [pə thäg΄nō män′ik] adj. [Gr pathognōmonikos < pathos, disease (see PATHOS) + gnōmonikos, able to judge < gnōmon, one who knows: see GNOMON] indicating or typical of a particular disease …   English World dictionary

  • Pathognomonic — A sign or symptom that is so characteristic of a disease that it makes the diagnosis. For example, Koplik’s spots (on the buccal mucosa opposite the lst and 2nd upper molars) are pathognomonic of measles. The word “pathognomonic” (pronounced… …   Medical dictionary

  • pathognomonic — pathognomonically, adv. /peuh thog neuh mon ik/, adj. Med. characteristic or diagnostic of a specific disease: a pathognomonic sign of pneumonia. [1615 25; < Gk pathognomonikós skilled in judging disease. See PATHO , GNOMON, IC] * * * …   Universalium

  • pathognomonic — adjective Beyond any doubt diagnostic for a particular disease. A tetrade of rash, arthralgia, abdominal pain and kidney disease in a child is pathognomonic for . Ant: assident …   Wiktionary

  • pathognomonic — adjective Etymology: Greek pathognōmonikos, from path + gnōmonikos fit to judge, from gnōmōn interpreter; akin to Greek gignōskein to know more at know Date: 1625 distinctively characteristic of a particular disease …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • pathognomonic — adj. [Gr. pathos, suffering; gnom, sign] A diagnostic symptom by which a disease may be recognized …   Dictionary of invertebrate zoology

  • pathognomonic — adj. characteristic of a disease, typical of a diseasepÉ™ θɑgnÉ™ mÉ‘nɪk / θɒgnÉ™ mÉ™ …   English contemporary dictionary

  • pathognomonic — [ˌpaθəgnə(ʊ) mɒnɪk] adjective Medicine indicative of a particular disease or condition. Origin C17: from Gk pathognōmonikos skilled in diagnosis , from pathos suffering + gnōmōn judge …   English new terms dictionary

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