October 1934


Author Affiliations

From the surgical service of the Beth Israel Hospital.

Arch Surg. 1934;29(4):546-554. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1934.01180040022002

It is the purpose of this report to draw attention to gas bacillus infection1 following laparotomy; this condition is manifested by a fulminating clinical course which may terminate fatally with startling rapidity. Failure to think of this complication, and the consequent omission of pertinent bacteriologic studies, may leave the surgeon mystified as to the actual cause of death. Frequently it is only when a postmortem examination is performed that the situation is clarified.

Winter,2 in 1889, reported 2 cases in which emphysema of the abdominal wall occurred after laparotomy. Eight years later Russell3 reported 2 similar cases: one after uterine suspension and the other following a panhysterectomy. Subsequently, several reports of cases appeared in which gas gangrene was described as a complication of abdominal operations. It was reported after cholecystectomy, gastric and colonic resection, enterostomy and closure of a perforated peptic ulcer. However, the majority of infections

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