Other Known Aliases – none
Definition – non-tender, small erythematous or hemorrhagic lesions on the palms of the hands or soles of the feet.
Clinical Significance – these lesions are one of the classic, pathognomonic findings in infectious endocarditis. They are caused by septic emboli which deposit bacteria in the dermis of the skin causing microabscesses. In fact, cultures can be taken from these lesions.
History – Named after Edward G. Janeway (1841-1911), who was an American pathologist and received his medical doctorate from the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York in 1864. He had a prolific career practicing in and around New York city primarily at Bellevue Hospital and served as Health Commissioner of New York from 1875-1882. He went on to become one of the founders of the Association of American Physicians in 1886, as well as president of the Academy of Medicine in 1897 and 1898. A contemporary of Sir William Osler, Janeway was regarded as one of America’s premier internists of the late nineteeth and early twentieth century. He first noted his eponymous finding in 1899 as a “peculiar skin lesion”, but the eponym was first coined by Emanuel Libman in 1906 and later explained in a footnote in an article in 1923.
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- Prutkin JM, Fye WB. Edward G. Janeway, clinician and pathologist. Clinical cardiology. 2006; 29(8):376-7. [pubmed]
- Janeway EG. Certain Clinical Observations upon Heart Disease. The Medical News. New York. 1899;65(9):257-262
- Libman E. Johns Hopkins Medicine. 1906
- Libman E. Endocarditis. Journal of American Medical Association. 1923;80(12);813-817