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April 18, 1966

Routine Postoperative Nasogastric Suction

JAMA. 1966;196(3):300-301. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100160150057

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To the Editor:—  The treatment of patients following abdominal surgery without gastrointestinal suction, as noted by your editorial (195:682, 1966), was frequently satisfactory. This manner of treatment is not new.When I was on the service of Charles Mayo in 1929 suction was not used, and nothing was given by mouth until gas was passed rectally. If gastric retention was found, aspiration was done. If more than a liter of fluid was recovered, aspiration was repeated every 8 to 12 hours until less than 500 cc were obtained. I think they were better off than most patients who have had suction routinely.My colleagues and I wrote of our experiences (Surg Gynec Obstet101:275, 1955) and the article was abstracted in a medical news journal. This prompted the appearance of four articles by surgeons of academic distinction, all rejecting the practice. One exclaimed that it would put surgery

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