What is the cause of death in high obstruction?
Why is it that a simple obstruction of the large intestine is compatible with life for a long time, while obstruction of the small intestine is rapidly fatal?
A tremendous amount of work has been done on this subject, which in turn has given rise to a multitude of theories, hardly two of which coincide. As in all problems for which a great number of explanations are offered, it is safe to assume that no one of them is entirely correct. Also, no theory has given rise to any practical means of preventing death after the condition has once fully established itself. In other words, no real advantage to the patient has accrued from this great mass of work. All medical and surgical research should have practical application as its ultimate goal. This goal is still in the dim distance as
COOPER HSF. THE CAUSE OF DEATH IN HIGH OBSTRUCTION. Arch Surg. 1928;17(6):918-967. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1928.01140120022002