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Article
June 1930

THE CAUSE OF DEATH IN UNCOMPLICATED HIGH INTESTINAL OBSTRUCTIONEXPERIMENTAL EVIDENCE TO SHOW THAT DEATH IS DUE NOT TO TOXEMIA, BUT TO LOSS OF DIGESTIVE FLUIDS AND SALTS

Author Affiliations

BOSTON
From the Surgical Services, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Surgical Research Laboratories, Harvard Medical School.

Arch Surg. 1930;20(6):897-905. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1930.01150120015002
Abstract

The cause of death in all types of intestinal obstruction has been so long and so unanimously ascribed to toxemia that the work of a small group who maintain that toxemia is not important in simple high occlusion has been rather generally disregarded. This group comprises the following investigators:

1. Hartwell and Hoguet,1 who in 1912 first called attention to the life-saving properties of salt solution. They believed that its physiologic effect was in the prevention of the dehydration, which they considered to be the chief lethal factor.

2. Gamble and McIver,2 who believed that in these cases death is due primarily to the loss of the electrolytes sodium and chlorine, with secondary inability of the tissues to maintain their normal fluid content.

3. White and Bridge,3 who pointed out that since salt is lost from all the viscera, muscles and skin, as well as from the

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