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May 14, 1892


JAMA. 1892;XVIII(20):626-627. doi:10.1001/jama.1892.02411240026008

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There has always been much discussion as to the proper use of digitalis in valvular disease of the heart. Perhaps such difference of opinion is inevitable, but several recent writings have shown some unanimity. The sole use of digitalis is to restore compensation. It has no mysterious influence in building up a weak heart. It contracts the arterioles and causes an increase in the force of the cardiac contractions. In this way an increase in the arterial tension is produced, and a steadier flow of blood through the capillaries occurs. The steady flow through the capillaries insures the proper supply of oxygen and other food to the tissues, and thus diminishes dyspnœa. The steady flow and high tension overcome the tendency to dropsy. Thus it happens, that the cardiac compensation is restored by digitalis. Increasing experience tends to show that the objections urged against the use of digitalis in aortic

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