Most clinicians and investigators agree that death in acute intestinal obstruction is due to the absorption of some toxic element from the bowel above the point of obstruction. Much experimental work in the field of intestinal obstruction has been done by American investigators, and it is generally conceded by them that the normal intestinal contents are relatively nontoxic, but that, with the advent of obstruction, a very toxic substance is formed.
Stone, who has done considerable experimental work in this field,1 states in a recent review2 that death from intestinal obstruction is due to a toxemia, and that the toxin has its origin in protein decomposition in the obstructed bowel. He says that even after obstruction to the continuity of the bowel has been established, a definite interval of time intervenes before the fluid shows definite evidence of toxicity.2 From ten to twenty hours usually elapse, according
WANGENSTEEN OH, CHUNN SS. STUDIES IN INTESTINAL OBSTRUCTION: I. A COMPARISON OF THE TOXICITY OF NORMAL AND OBSTRUCTED INTESTINAL CONTENT. Arch Surg. 1928;16(2):606–614. doi:https://doi.org/10.1001/archsurg.1928.01140020157009
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