Medical Definition of Phthisis

Phthisis: A good trivia or crossword item. An over-consonanted Greek word meaning "a dwindling or wasting away." Pronounced TIE-sis.

Phthisis is an archaic name for tuberculosis. A person afflicted with tuberculosis in the old days was destined to dwindle and waste away like Mimi, the heroine of Puccini's 1896 opera "La Boheme."

Nephronophthisis is derived from "nephron" + "phthisis." The nephron is the fundamental functional unit in the kidney and includes the renal tubule and glomerulus. In nephronophthisis the kidney is progressively destroyed.

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Last Editorial Review: 1/25/2017