Of the several current conceptions regarding the cause of death in acute diffuse peritonitis, that of toxemia is the most commonly accepted. Until 1926,1 no experimental evidence was offered to substantiate such a conception. Ecker and I2 were able to produce the death of rabbits following the intraperitoneal injection of broth cultures of B. coli. The rabbits that received colon bacillus antiserum intravenously, in addition to the broth culture of colon bacillus intraperitoneally, survived. However, it was later demonstrated3 that introduction of broth cultures of colon bacillus into the peritoneal cavity of rabbits and dogs may result in the death of the animals, but not necessarily in peritonitis. Since the inflammatory peritoneal lesion was either absent or doubtful and the value of the colon bacillus antiserum is still questioned, the experiments of Ecker and myself are merely suggestive but are by no means conclusive of a bacterial
STEINBERG B. THE CAUSE OF DEATH IN ACUTE DIFFUSE PERITONITIS. Arch Surg. 1931;23(1):145–156. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1931.01160070148010
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