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October 14, 1939


JAMA. 1939;113(16):1489-1492. doi:10.1001/jama.1939.72800410003011

From the surgeon's point of view, peritonitis arising from perforations and leakage from intra-abdominal viscera is of chief interest, Since there is no specific therapy for peritonitis, treatment may be divided into procedures for the removal of the source of the infection and supportive measures to aid natural defenses. When the treatment is being planned, an estimate should be made of the pathologic condition, the altered physiologic function and changes in body chemistry, and the methods to be employed should be based on this estimate in each individual case.

Factors in the treatment of acute peritonitis worthy of special consideration may be outlined and discussed under the following headings:

  1. Operation and abdominal drainage.

  2. Decompression of the distended intestine.

  3. Maintenance of the intestinal tone.

  4. Use of peristaltic stimulants.

  5. Maintenance of water and chemical balance.

  6. Food supply.

  7. Local application of heat.

  8. Antitoxic serum therapy.

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