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April 4, 1914


JAMA. 1914;LXII(14):1095-1096. doi:10.1001/jama.1914.02560390035020

When Gaspard Bauhin discovered the ileocecal valve in 1579 he found that even after death it resists a moderate degree of pressure from the side of the colon, but very little from the side of the small intestine. For this reason the anatomic action, which prevents the fecal material from returning to the ileum after it has reached the cecum, has been believed to be a mechanical one. It is true that, as a rule, the contents of the large and small intestines do not mix; this fact of itself is not sufficient, however, to determine the function of the devices at the union of the ileum and the cecum. Both anatomic structure and physiologic experiments indicate that a strong ileocecal sphincter exists in man. This does not always prevent regurgitation into the ileum. The theory is rapidly gaining ground that the function of the ileocecal sphincter is, as Keith

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