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Article
February 8, 1941

THE NATURE AND PATHOLOGY OF RADIATION SICKNESS

Author Affiliations

PHILADELPHIA
From the Departments of Pathology and Roentgenology, Jefferson Medical College and Hospital.

JAMA. 1941;116(6):489-493. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.02820060037008
Abstract

It has been known for years that severe, sometimes fatal illness may develop in patients subjected to intensive irradiation. Weakness, nausea, vomiting, oliguria, bloody diarrhea, rapid feeble pulse, low blood pressure and profound prostration are prominent clinical features. Both the metabolism and the renal elimination of wastes are markedly reduced. It has been observed that exposure of the abdomen to roentgen rays caused signs of illness more often than exposure of other areas. Death results from circulatory failure resembling that produced by anaphylaxis, severe intoxications, burns or intestinal obstruction.

Space is lacking to discuss the various theories offered as explanations and the extensive experimentation done in search for further evidence. Those interested in these matters are referred to reviews.1 Hall and Whipple2 and Warren and Whipple3 noted that the manifestations after extensive irradiation were like those of heat burns but with this difference: The latter produce illness

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