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January 6, 1940


JAMA. 1940;114(1):27-29. doi:10.1001/jama.1940.02810010029006

No postoperative peritonitis occurred in fifty-one consecutive cases of resection for carcinoma of the rectum and rectosigmoid reported by Pratt,1 of the Henry Ford Hospital, with one exception, when an operative error in the selection of the point of ligation of the vessels resulted in extensive gangrene and sloughing of the colon and in peritonitis. It was noted that all of these patients had received from one month to six weeks preoperatively an erythema dose of high voltage roentgen therapy to each of four ports of the pelvis and the lower portion of the abdomen, primarily for the purpose of decreasing the size of the tumor mass and protecting against metastases. It was estimated that approximately one erythema dose reached the midpelvis. These observations suggested to us that the irradiation may have been responsible at least in part for the protection against peritonitis and stimulated us to investigate the

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