Raynaud phenomenon


Raynaud’s phenomenon manifests as episodic vasospasm leading to acral vascular compromise following emotional stress or exposure to a cold environment. It usually manifests in three phases: pallor (vasospasm), cyanosis (blood stasis), and rubor (reperfusion). 


1862 – Raynaud was the first to describe this entity in his doctoral thesis and it was called Raynaud’s disease

1901Sir Jonathan Hutchinson (1828-1913) – the term Raynaud’s Phenemona

I think we shall gain a clearer idea of our subject if we discard its name, for the expression “Raynaud’s disease” would imply that there is some one malady complete in itself, and having all the symptoms the same in all cases which is suitably denominated by that name. That is not the case.

…by being precise in the signification of the names we employ we shall be honouring his name, and therefore I would speak rather of Raynaud’s phenomena than of Raynaud’s disease, for the former are things which we understand and are the same in all cases. In this substituted expression we must include a large group of maladies which differ widely in their etiology.

Hutchinson 1901

1918 – Alice Hamilton MD, mother of US occupational medicine, reported “spastic anemia” in 106 out of 123 stonecutters in Indiana with similar symptoms attributable to a rapidly vibrating air hammer used to cut limestone.

Among men who use the air hammer for cutting stone there appears very commonly a disturbance in the circulation of the hands, which consists in spasmodic contraction of the blood vessels of certain fingers, making them blanched, shrunken, and numb.

Hamilton 1918

1929 – Sir Thomas Lewis distinguished primary Raynaud’s disease from secondary Raynaud’s phenomenon. , like Raynaud, concluded that the condition was caused by abnormal susceptibility of the digital cutaneous vasculature to stimulation by cooling, “a local fault.”

Associated Persons

Alternative names
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Did they first describe or popularise or plagiarise?


Historical references

Eponymous term review

  • Pauling JD, Hughes M, Pope JE. Raynaud’s phenomenon-an update on diagnosis, classification and management. Clin Rheumatol. 2019 Dec;38(12):3317-3330. 
  • Haque A, Hughes M. Raynaud’s phenomenon. Clin Med (Lond). 2020 Nov;20(6):580-587. 


the names behind the name

MBBS5 Awarded from St. George's University of London


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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