Rudolf Adriaan Mees

Rudolf Adriaan Mees (1873-1964)

Rudolf Adriaan Mees (1873-1964) was a Dutch psychiatrist and physician.

Eponymously remembered for his description of the nail sign known as Mees lines in acute arsenic poisoning published in 1919


  • Born 14 October 1873 in Deventer
  • Geneesheer aan het Provinciaal Ziekenhuis “Duin en Bosch” te Bakkum [Physician at the Provincial Hospital “Duin en Bosch” in Bakkum]
  • 1918 – Mees Lines: Naar een voordracht, gehouden in de vergadering van de Vereeniging voor Psychiatrie en Neurologie op 11 October 1918
  • Geneesheer-directeur het Provinciaal Ziekenhuis te Santpoort
  • Psychiater te Bloemendaal
  • Died 7 June 1964 in Overveen

Medical Eponyms

Mees lines (1919)

Nail sign: white bands (leukonychia striata) traversing the full width of the (finger/toe) nail, running parallel to the lunula, with no palpable ridges. As the nail grows they bands move distally and finally disappear when trimmed. This finding is indicative of heavy metal poisoning particularly arsenic, thallium and selenium within the last year. The sign has also been recorded in patients with renal dysfunction; chemotherapy; cardiac failure; systemic illness and high altitude mountaineering.

Anatomical Findings “Mee’s lines” by Yannick Trottier—Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons

Mees described in 1918 (published 1919) three patients with ‘polyneuritis arsenicosa’ (polyneuropathy due to acute arsenic intoxication) as a result of ingesting a large single dose of arsenic salts. He discussed two cases of attempted suicide and one of attempted murder.

Mees suggested the use of the nail sign in diagnosing polyneuropathy due to acute arsenic intoxication

Major Publications


eponymictionary CTA


the person behind the name

Emergency physician MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM with a passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and informatics. Asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | vocortex |

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