A meta-analysis of 4288 patients in 16 studies found that the sensitivity of Charcot triad for acute cholangitis was poor (36.3%) with a much better specificity (93.2%). However the specificity had only been provided in three of the pooled studies 1. Therefore - perhaps unsurprisingly - if the triad is positive then cholangitis is likely, but if absent one cannot confidently exclude the diagnosis.
History and etymology
Jean-Martin Charcot (1825-1893) was trained as a pathologist, but he was also a skilled practising physician, and for many the father of neurology - who also made important contributions to psychiatry. He also has the distinction of probably having more medical eponyms named for him than any other individual in history 2,3.
- 1. Rumsey S, Winders J, MacCormick AD. Diagnostic accuracy of Charcot's triad: a systematic review. (2017) ANZ journal of surgery. 87 (4): 232-238. doi:10.1111/ans.13907 - Pubmed
- 2. Tan SY, Shigaki D. Jean-Martin Charcot (1825-1893): pathologist who shaped modern neurology. (2007) Singapore medical journal. 48 (5): 383-4. Pubmed
- 3. Kumar DR, Aslinia F, Yale SH, Mazza JJ. Jean-Martin Charcot: the father of neurology. (2011) Clinical medicine & research. 9 (1): 46-9. doi:10.3121/cmr.2009.883 - Pubmed