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August 1920

A NEW METHOD OF DIAGNOSIS OF PERITONITIS IN INFANCY AND CHILDHOOD: PRELIMINARY REPORT

Am J Dis Child. 1920;20(2):113-114. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1920.01910260039004

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Abstract

It is generally recognized that the diagnosis of peritonitis in childhood and particularly in infancy presents a difficult problem. Peritonitis is frequently found at necropsy, when it had not been suspected during life, and, on the other hand, it is often impossible to exclude peritonitis as the cause of obscure febrile conditions in infancy.

Our purpose was to obtain a specimen of peritoneal fluid in order to determine the initial reaction to the inflammatory process. Aspiration has several disadvantages. First, a comparatively large amount of fluid must be drawn through the metal needle and into the barrel of the syringe before one can observe whether fluid has been obtained. Second, aspiration is apt to suck omentum or intestine to the needle point, damage the intestine, or, at least, block the needle and thus prevent the aspiration of fluid even though it may be present. Furthermore, we believe that aspiration has

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