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May 1921


Author Affiliations

Kansas City, Mo.

Arch Surg. 1921;2(3):627-635. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1921.01110060224011

The pleural and peritoneal cavities are similar in their embryology, physiology and pathology. The character and arrangement of their contents constitute an important difference, as does also the constitution of their walls. The mobile intestines, with their mesenteries, also the omentum, aid in localizing infective processes and hinder the establishment of effective drainage. The yielding abdominal wall normally keeps the peritoneal cavity a potential, instead of an actual, cavity, while in the chest it is the expanding of the lung which does the same thing for the pleura, the chest wall remaining rigid. As disease commonly impedes pulmonary expansion, it is much more common to have an actual, instead of a potential, pleural cavity, than to have such a condition in the peritoneum. When an intra-abdominal organ, such as the appendix vermiformis, becomes the site of an infective lesion, the diffusible toxins spread beyond the focus of infection and give

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