Iatrogenic

Dr Daniel J Bell et al.

Iatrogenic is used for something that results from the direct (or indirect) actions of physicians, surgeons, or other caregivers, e.g. nurses 1.

It is usually used in the context of describing a possible cause of a finding/diagnosis. Anything caused by any form of diagnostic test or treatment (including medication, radiotherapy and surgery) may be described as iatrogenic, e.g. a pneumothorax occurring as a sequela of thoracentesis could be described as iatrogenic.

It is important to note that most instances of iatrogenesis follow correct uses of the treatment modality, i.e. it is not medical malpractice.

History and etymology

Iatrogenic is derived from the Ancient Greek roots ιατρος (iatros) meaning physician and γεν (gen) meaning producing 1. The 'iatros' root is also found in 'geriatric' (physician of the old) and 'pediatric' (physician of the child).

Share article

Article information

rID: 61858
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Iatrogeneses
  • Iatrogenics
  • Iatrogenically
  • Iatrogenesis

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

Updating… Please wait.

 Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

 Thank you for updating your details.