Meigs syndrome: Triad of ascites with hydrothorax in association with benign ovarian tumour, that is cured after tumour resection.

History of Meigs syndrome

1866 – Otto von Spiegelberg first described a patient with fibroma, ascites and hydrothorax

1880 – Cullingworth detailed the history of a 36 year-old woman who complained of abdominal swelling dyspnoea, weight loss and menorrhagia who died from respiratory collapse. The autopsy revealed bilateral ovarian fibromas; a large quantity of fluid in the peritoneal cavity and the left pleural cavity. The specimen was deemed to be benign, though resolution following resection was not demonstrated as no operation had been performed.

1887 – Albert Demons (1842-1920) reported that nine out of 50 (18%) women with ovarian cysts were cured of their ascites and hydrothorax by removal of the cyst. The exact histology of specimens was not recorded, however, this was the first time that resolution of ascites and hydrothorax after removal of an ovarian mass was reported. [1887;XIII:771-776]

1888 – Pascale described ascites and associated hydrothorax in 3 of 21 patients with ovarian cysts.

1934Meigs first referenced the condition describing three cases in his book ‘Tumors of the Female Pelvic Organs’. Meigs and Cass stressed the importance of the condition and [1937; 33: 249-267]

1937 – Rhoads and Terrell attribute eponym to Meigs

Associated Persons


Historical references

Additional references


the person behind the name

Dr Lucy J Yarwood LITFL author

MSc, MBChB University of Manchester. Currently doctoring in sunny Western Australia, aspiring obstetrician and gynaecologist

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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