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May 1934


Author Affiliations


From the Medical and Surgical Laboratories of the Massachusetts General Hospital.

Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1934;53(5):649-674. doi:10.1001/archinte.1934.00160110018002

In a previous communication1 we discussed the occurrence of generalized edema of the tissues following ordinary surgical procedures. The edema described was observed in a series of thirty-four patients and was of varying degree, but at times amounted to anasarca. In certain instances it proved to be a serious postoperative complication, especially when occurring in the intestinal wall and parenchyma of the lungs. Death apparently resulted from the edema in one case, and it was believed that the swelling of the intestinal wall might have contributed definitely to the malfunctioning of a gastro-enterostomy in several instances. It was thought that the edema was fundamentally of the nutritional type frequently associated with a lowering of the serum protein. Such a lowering of the serum protein below the critical level actually was observed in nearly all the cases. In attempting to explain the occurrence of this interesting phenomenon it was obvious