Until recently all forms of treatment of patients with subacute bacterial endocarditis were adjudged ineffective. Except for a rare spontaneous remission of the disease, the outcome has generally been accepted as fatal. The recent application of artificial hyperthermia and new chemotherapeutic agents to the treatment of bacterial infections fostered the hope that the outlook for recovery in subacute bacterial endocarditis might improve.
In 1933 one of us (W. B.) applied physically induced pyrexia without additional chemotherapy to a patient suffering from subacute bacterial endocarditis. At the time this patient was actively embolizing. Following the second fever treatment showers of numerous emboli caused an exitus. Postmortem examination showed the viscera to be filled with numerous fresh and old emboli.
In 1936 Krusen1 experimented with artificial fever therapy in subacute bacterial endocarditis and abandoned it because of apparently increased danger of embolism. In 1937 Dry and Willius2 treated 4 patients
LICHTMAN SS, BIERMAN W. THE TREATMENT OF SUBACUTE BACTERIAL ENDOCARDITIS: PRESENT STATUS. JAMA. 1941;116(4):286–289. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.02820040020007
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