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May 1945


Author Affiliations

Fellow in Surgery, Lahey Clinic; BOSTON
From the Department of Surgery, Lahey Clinic.

Arch Surg. 1945;50(5):229-232. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1945.01230030238002

Modern surgery has advanced beyond the confines of the operating theater. Surgical knowledge is progressing so rapidly that the surgeon must of necessity be mindful of the results of laboratory investigations. In recent years the role of chemistry has become more closely associated with surgery. Through chemical analysis many postoperative complications have been explained.

Innumerable authors have stressed the importance of protein to the surgical patient. The

removal of protein from the diet almost immediately produces an alteration in plasma protein. Well nourished surgical patients who are deprived of an adequate protein diet can easily approach a state of acute starvation during hospitalization.1 In these circumstances the patient must replenish his protein deficiency through endogenous protein secured from his own body. This loss of protein tissue can be measured in the terms of nitrogen excretion. Studies have revealed that after operation as much as 20 to 40 Gm. of

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