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February 19, 1916

Theory and Practice of Bloodletting.

JAMA. 1916;LXVI(8):594. doi:10.1001/jama.1916.02580340050035

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The author aims to set forth in a systematic manner the important progress of bloodletting, especially in its more recent experimental and clinical investigations. After a historical review of the procedure, he describes the functional changes which follow bloodletting. Changes in the amount and distribution of blood effected by bloodletting, cupping and phlebostasis are readily understood. According to the author, venesection reduces blood pressure better and more lastingly than any other treatment. He discusses changes in the composition of the blood caused by its withdrawal from the blood vessels. Abnormal and deleterious substances are removed with it, but the effect of bloodletting on osmotic tension, the author thinks, is the most important. He concludes that it is the reestablishment of osmotic equilibrium or the "osmotherapeutic properties of bloodletting, heretofore unrecognized as such, that render it of such great value in quasimoribund cases." Venesection, moreover, stimulates the hemopoietic organs so that

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