Hirschsprung’s Disease: Its Aetiology, Pathogenesis and Differential Diagnosis

  • W. Meier-Ruge
Part of the Current Topics in Pathology book series (CT PATHOLOGY, volume 59)


Congenital aganglionosis of the distal colon was first described as a clinical entity in its own right in 1887 by the Danish physician Harald Hirschsprung. He did not, however, recognise the true cause of the disease, but merely drew attention to the dilated and hypertrophied colon proximal to the aganglionosis. Tittel in 1901 still assumed that Hirschsprung’s disease was due to congenital ectasia of the colon. Dalla-Valle was the first to point out, in papers published in 1920 and 1924, that Hirschsprung’s disease resulted from absence from the distal colon of the myenteric plexus. At the same time Alvarez (1922) showed that the spastic segment of the supra-anal colon was the cause of Hirschsprung’s disease.


Ganglion Cell Anal Sphincter Circular Muscle Myenteric Plexus Sympathetic Innervation 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin · Heidelberg 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. Meier-Ruge
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Basic Medical Research DepartmentExperimental Pathology and Histochemistry Section, SANDOZ Ltd.BasleSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute of PathologyUniversity of BasleSwitzerland

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