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November 1954


AMA Arch Surg. 1954;69(5):597-601. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1954.01270050001001

THERE are rumbles in the background suggesting that a storm is brewing—that a new concept of the significance of the human organism's response to trauma is evolving which might lead to new techniques for solving many major problems in the management of the sick patient. From France one hears of "artificial hibernation," of "slow-motion life," of "sympathetic neuroplegia"; in Britain "hypotensive anesthesia" has become common practice; in the United States "general hypothermia" is creeping into the armamentarium of the cardiac surgeon. What is the conceptual relationship among these techniques, if any, and what is the evidence to support them? What biological kinship exists between the pharmacologic "lytic cocktail" and the physical agent ice-water? Herein, at the present time, lies the confusion of a welter of undocumented theories. Yet an underlying hypothesis of great attractiveness appears dimly, seeking to be established or refuted, not by claims and rash clinical trial,

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