One who studies the literature on the cause of death in cases of intestinal obstruction finds confusion and conflicting opinions concerning many phases of the problem. This fact was the stimulus for writing this paper, the purpose of which is to consider the experimental studies that have been made since Cooper's review of the subject in 1928 and to present the present status of knowledge concerning the problem. In order to discuss many of the confusing issues, some of the older work will be considered.
In most instances of clinical obstruction and in the various types of experimental obstruction, death occurs before gross perforation of the intestine has taken place, and under these circumstances the cause of death cannot be satisfactorily explained by the autopsy observations. The course has been described as that of "toxemia," and for many years it was generally accepted that the cause of death from all
BESSER EL. CAUSE OF DEATH IN CASES OF MECHANICAL INTESTINAL OBSTRUCTION: CONSIDERATION OF CERTAIN CONFUSED ISSUES AND REVIEW OF RECENT LITERATURE. Arch Surg. 1940;41(4):970–993. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1940.01210040159009
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