Johannes “Jan” Peutz

Johannes Laurentius Augustinus Peutz (1886 – 1957) 150

Johannes Laurentius Augustinus Peutz (1886 – 1957) was a Dutch physician.

He published on a range of topics, including upper gastrointestinal ulcers and lipiduria, while working as a chief physician in The Hague.

Peutz is eponymous with Peutz-Jeghers syndrome following his 1921 publication of a case with the condition, characterized by gastrointestinal and nasal polyposis with mucocutaneous pigmentation.

  • Born March 24, 1886 in Uithuizen, Netherlands
  • 1914 – Graduated medical studies from the Universities of Groningen (under Karel Frederik Wenckebach [1864 – 1940]) and Utrecht (with Albert Abraham Hijmans van den Bergh [1869-1943])
  • 1915 – Started internal medicine residency at Coolsingel Hospital in Rotterdam
  • 1917 – Appointed chief physician at the Johannes de Deo Hospital in The Hague
  • 1918 – Co-founded the laboratory for pathological and serological investigation, and set-up electrocardiography services at Johannes de Deo Hospital
  • 1921 – Obtained a PhD from the University of Utrecht for his thesis: ‘Klinische en experimentele bijdrage tot de diagnostiek en interne therapie van pancreasstoornissen en met bijzondere betrekking tot de diabetes’ [Clinical and experimental contribution to the diagnosis and therapy of pancreatic disorders with special emphasis on diabetes]
  • 1951 – Retired from the head of Department of Internal Medicine at the Westeinde Hospital
  • Died December 20, 1957 in The Hague, Netherlands

Medical Eponyms
Peutz-Jeghers syndrome

Peutz-Jeghers syndrome is an autosomal dominant condition caused by mutations in the serine/threonine kinase 11 gene (STK11/LKB1) is characterised by melanotic macules; gastrointestinal hamartomatous polyps; and increased cancer risk.

1921 – Peutz described a 15-year-old boy with poor appetite, and intermittent abdominal pain, later developing an ileus from jejunal polyps. The patient had numerous distinctive pigmented spots on his face and mouth, with numerous ‘pea to grape sized’ rectal polyps and rectal pigmentation also observed on rectoscopy. Evaluation of the patient’s family revealed similar pigmentation in 5 of the 7 siblings and the father. The father had two sisters who died from intestinal obstruction.

Peutz considered that this was a congenital and familial syndrome, characterised by intestinal polyps, nasal polyps, and the distinctive pigmentation.

Terwijl nu het voorkomen der polypen in den darm als een familiaire ziekte een welbekend iets is, geven mijn ge vallen een dusdanige aanvulling van de kennis van het ziektebeeld, waarover ik tenminste in de literatuur nog niets vond vermeld. Want ik vond nl., zooals reeds werd gezegd, behalve de darmpolypen nog in 2 der 5 gevallen neuspolypen en van de 7 kinderen 5 met de beschreven pigmentatie benevens de 2 gevallen – zusters van den vader – waar anamnestisch ook diezelfde pigmentatie aan wezig bleek. Het lijkt mij zeer waarschijnlijk dat ook deze veranderingen in samenhang staan met de congenitale stoor nis, die tot het optreden van de polyposis geleid heeft.

Peutz 1921: 145

While the occurrence of the polyps in the intestine as a familial disease is well-known, my cases add to the knowledge of the clinical picture, not previously reported in the literature. In addition to the intestinal polyps I found nasal polyps (2 of the 5 cases) and the described mucous membrane pigmentation (5 of the 7 children). In a further 2 cases – sisters of the father – the same pigmentation was present. It seems to me very likely that these changes are related to the congenital disorder which led to the appearance of the polyposis.

Peutz 1921: 145

Peutz 1921 Gecombineerde familiaire polyposis met eigenaardige pigmentaties van huid
Gecombineerde familiaire polyposis met eigenaardige pigmentaties van huid. [Combined familial polyposis with peculiar skin pigmentations.]
Peutz 1921

1950 van Wijk, supervised by Peutz, wrote his thesis on the original family with the condition, which he referred to as ‘Peutz disease’

Major Publications



Eponymous terms

Doctor in Australia. Keen interest in internal medicine, medical education, and medical history.

BA MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM. Emergency physician, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.  Passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | Twitter |

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