Pyelonephritis historical perspective

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Maliha Shakil, M.D. [2], Usama Talib, BSc, MD [3]


Urinary tract infections have been a long time concern with the first documented description in the Ebers Papyrus dated to 1550 BC. In 1836, Philadelphia surgeon Joseph Parrish described three cases of severe lower urinary tract symptoms without the presence of a bladder stone. Pyelonephritis is a type of upper urinary tract infection. The report of complicated pyelonephritis goes back to 1908.

Historical Perspective

  • Urinary tract infections was first described and documented in the Ebers Papyrus dated to 1550 BC.[1]
  • In 1836, Joseph Parrish described three cases of severe lower urinary tract symptoms without the presence of a bladder stone.
  • In 1908, Saxton T. Pope explained the development of pyelonephritis associated with pregnancy.[2]
  • In 1946 Robbins SL demonstrated papillary necrosis as a consequence of pyelonephritis.[3]
  • In 1959, JP Stanford came up with the idea that an asymptomatic phase of pyelonephritis exists, owing to the presence of pyelonephritis on autopsies of some individuals who did not have active symptoms of pyelonephritis.[4]


  1. A-Achi, Antoine. An Introduction to Botanical Medicines: History, Science, Uses, and Dangers: History, Science, Uses, and Dangers. Harvard Medical School.
  2. Pope ST (1908). "PYELONEPHRITIS COMPLICATING PREGNANCY". Cal State J Med. 6 (4): 139–40. PMC 1652404. PMID 18734336.
  3. ROBBINS SL, MALLORY GK, KINNEY TD (1946). "Necrotizing renal papillitis; a form of acute pyelonephritis". N Engl J Med. 235 (25): 885–93. doi:10.1056/NEJM194612192352501. PMID 20277649.
  4. SANFORD JP (1959). "Inapparent pyelonephritis; the missing link". J Am Med Assoc. 169 (15): 1711–4. PMID 13640921.

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