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March 10, 1934


Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Internal Medicine and of Pathology, Yale University School of Medicine, and the New Haven Hospital.

JAMA. 1934;102(10):745-751. doi:10.1001/jama.1934.02750100011003

This paper is an attempt to explain the actual mechanism of death in cases of exfoliative dermatitis. The few references in the literature explain the death as due either to septicemia or to bronchopneumonia. Although clinically the changes are compatible with a diagnosis of bronchopneumonia, it was felt that this might not be the case. This idea was strengthened in 1931, when one of us1 reported a fatality resulting from phenobarbital. The autopsy in this case showed that the exfoliative process involved the trachea, the bronchi, the alveoli and, to a less extent, the urinary tract. Although clinically the patient presented a fairly typical picture of bronchopneumonia, the autopsy failed completely to show pneumonia. It seems obvious from the autopsy that death was actually due, in part at least, to suffocation or to anoxemia. In view of this, a survey of the literature and a review of our own

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