Medical Definition of Index case

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 12/12/2018

Index case: A person who first draws attention to his or her family because of having a medical condition. For example, if an eye doctor discovers a person has glaucoma, and subsequently other cases of glaucoma are found in the person's family, that person is the index case. Also known as propositus (if male) or proposita (if female).

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Reviewed on 12/12/2018