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November 27, 1926


JAMA. 1926;87(22):1831. doi:10.1001/jama.1926.92680220002012a

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Much has happened in the last fifty years to further the progress of tonsil surgery and to stimulate the interest in medical history. After a fairly thorough search of the literature from 1890 to 1922, I am convinced that mediastinal abscess is a very rare terminal complication following a tonsillectomy. In a review made for me four years ago by the American Institute of Medicine, forty-one mediastinal histories were given, none of which ascribed the original source of infection to the tonsils. Fifteen of these cases were traumatic, occurring during the late war, due to bullet, grenade or stab wounds. Forty per cent of these were fatal, death occurring as the result of collapse, pulmonary sepsis, a rupture into the pericardium and great absorption from the rich lymphatic supply. Loeb, in his exhaustive study of fatal complications following tonsillectomy, fails to mention this one.

Glogau, in his article on phlegmonous

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