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Definition of Pickwickian syndrome

Pickwickian syndrome: The combination of obesity, somnolence (sleepiness), hypoventilation (underbreathing), and plethoric (red) face.

The syndrome is so named because of the "fat and red-faced boy in a state of somnolency" that Charles Dickens described in his novel, The Pickwick Papers. (The same boy is thought by some experts possibly to have had the Prader-Willi syndrome).

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=4896
Last Editorial Review: 8/28/2013

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