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September 10, 1904


JAMA. 1904;XLIII(11):738-739. doi:10.1001/jama.1904.02500110032004

Examination of the blood of patients for bacteria during life is altogether too infrequently practiced in view of its extremely great diagnostic value, and until the last few years it has been almost entirely neglected. In consequence of this our knowledge of the bacteriology of the specific infectious diseases has been largely derived from findings made through cultures obtained at postmortem examinations, and the value of such findings as an index of the conditions that existed during the life of the patient has been open to question. It is known that during the last hours of life the resistance of the blood to infection may be so lowered that an "agonal invasion" by pathogenic bacteria may occur. Again, putrefactive bacteria are liable to spread from the intestines and make their way through the body, causing "postmortem invasion." Hence the actual value of cultures made at autopsy from the heart's blood

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