The various septic processes associated with the formation of gas in the tissues have always been of the greatest interest to surgeons, both on account of their comparative rarity and of the certainty and horrible rapidity with which, when untreated, they terminate life.
These morbid processes were observed and studied by even the oldest medical authors as Hippocrates and Ambrose Paré, but little was done toward the elucidation of their etiology or even the careful study of their symptomatology until the middle of the nineteenth century, when the French authors Chassaignac, Maisonneuve, Velpeau, and finally Salleron,1 gave masterly descriptions, the latter's based on sixty-five cases observed during the Crimean War.
Following this a certain amount of bacteriologic research was attempted, but nothing definite was accomplished until Pasteur,2 in 1877, published his work, in which he described the vibrion septique and showed its relation to certain forms of septicemia
STEWART JC. ANAEROBIC CELLULITIS. JAMA. 1905;XLV(8):528–532. doi:10.1001/jama.1905.52510080026002g
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