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November 1957

Neutralization of Hydrochloric Acid in the Peritoneal Cavity

Author Affiliations

Augusta, Ga.; Salt Lake City
From the Departments of Surgery, Medical College of Georgia, and University of Utah College of Medicine.; Professor and Chairman, Department of Surgery, Medical College of Georgia (Dr. Moretz). Instructor of Surgery, University of Utah College of Medicine (Dr. Erickson).

AMA Arch Surg. 1957;75(5):834-837. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1957.01280170144049

This study was promoted by the observation that, of 26 patients with perforated ulcer, in only 4 did the peritoneal fluid obtained by preoperative paracentesis have an acid reaction.1 We were interested in this matter because of its obvious implications in the diagnostic value of paracentesis in cases of suspected ulcer perforation and its bearing on the natural processes of repair following spillage of acid gastric contents.

How rapidly is chemical neutralization accomplished, and by what mechanism does the body neutralize acid chyme in the peritoneal cavity?

In an effort to throw light on this problem, known amounts of hydrochloric acid solutions were injected into the peritoneal cavities of dogs, and, subsequently, aspirated specimens of the peritoneal fluid were examined. This paper reports the results of that study.

Methods  A. Fifty cubic centimeters of N/20 hydrochloric acid per kilogram of body weight was injected into the peritoneal cavity

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