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September 1932


Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery and the Department of Roentgenology, Presbyterian Hospital, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University.

Arch Surg. 1932;25(3):578-600. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1932.01160210147011

The treatment for intestinal obstruction has in the majority of cases been relegated almost entirely to the surgeon, the conservative measures of medical treatment having been more or less discarded. In spite of this fact, and even though surgical methods have improved in the last three decades, the mortality rates remain alarmingly high. The experience of recent years has emphasized the importance of an early diagnosis in intestinal obstruction if surgical intervention is to be a life-saving measure. Most writers, therefore, agree that the one way of reducing the mortality rates is to shorten the time interval between the onset of symptoms and the establishing of a definite diagnosis. Statistics quoted by various writers demonstrate this quite strikingly. Miller,1 in a study of a series of cases, showed that the death rate almost doubled between the twelve and the twenty-four hour intervals. His total mortality was 60.9 per cent

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