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Docent Dr. St. Szcz. Zaleski, of Dorpat, has recently called attention to the fact that silver tracheotomy tubes are corroded by the secretions of the body, with which they come in contact. He relates a case in which a tube was left in the trachea for two years, and at the end of this time there was nothing left but a mere shell. Zaleski explains the chemical process by which the metal was dissolved by the continual action of the chlorides, that exist in almost all the secretions of the body, upon the metallic silver. Chloride of silver is thus formed, and is acted upon by the alkaline secretions, which contain ammonia and cyanides, in the same way as the sulphocyanide of potassium has the power of dissolving chloride of silver. Of course a part of this silver is expectorated, but it is probable that a large part is absorbed.
DANGERS OF SILVER TRACHEOTOMY TUBES. JAMA. 1888;XI(1):22. doi:10.1001/jama.1888.02400530038007
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