September 1924


Arch Surg. 1924;9(2):293-308. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1924.01120080059005

A state of autointoxication may result (a) from the retention of waste products; (b) from arrested catabolism, especially of proteins; (c) from the formation of certain complex substances as the result of faulty action on the part of some organ; (d) from toxic substances, presumably produced by intestinal bacteria, which are absorbed when normal elimination is completely arrested as in acute intestinal obstruction. Whatever its apparent cause, however, the outstanding symptoms in each case are the same, lassitude, increasing debility, and psychic disturbances which vary from nervous irritability to delirium, headache, and slight fever. Why any of these causes should produce these symptoms has not been clear. In this connection, a recent writer on this subject makes the following statements:1

"We are still uncertain concerning the precise cause of the symptoms in prolonged anuria... The possibility of an autointoxication from the absorption of injurious compounds in the large intestines

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