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Article
June 22, 1901

THE CAUSE OF DIFFUSE PERITONITIS COMPLICATING APPENDICITIS AND ITS PREVENTION.CHAIRMAN'S ADDRESS, DELIVERED BEFORE THE SECTION ON SURGERY AND ANATOMY, AT THE FIFTY-SECOND ANNUAL MEETING OF THE A. M. A., AT ST. PAUL, MINN., JUNE 4-7, 1901.

JAMA. 1901;XXXVI(25):1747-1754. doi:10.1001/jama.1901.52470250001001

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Abstract

Every surgeon who treats patients suffering from acute appendicitis must be impressed with the fact that an unfavorable outcome in any given case means that the infection which was originally confined to the small space occupied by the vermiform appendix itself has first invaded the tissues immediately surrounding this organ and has then been distributed over the entire peritoneal cavity. In other words, in fatal cases the patient practically always dies as the result of a diffuse peritonitis.

Other conditions may arise which may result in a fatal issue. There may be a septic thrombosis of the vessels in the vicinity of the appendix or an empyema, or even pyemia, but by far the greatest number of deaths occurs from diffuse peritonitis, and if it is possible to prevent this, the mortality from appendicitis must at once fall enormously. In order to plan a means for the prevention of this

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