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January 1959

Spontaneous Perforation of the Common Bile Duct: Report of a Case

AMA Arch Surg. 1959;78(1):7-11. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1959.04320010011002

Spontaneous perforation of the bile duct in infancy is a rare condition. Untreated the course is fatal, but it responds gratifying to surgery. It is therefore important to know the symptomatology, which is rather characteristic, in order to institute surgical treatment before the infant's state becomes too deteriorated. The first two cases were reported in 1936 by Caulfield. Since then, a total of eight cases have been described in the available literature, the largest series, being that of Pettersson, consisting of four cases. One further case, the 11th, recently successfully treated in the pediatric surgical department of the University Hospital of Copenhagen, is here presented, and a description of the condition based on this case and those formerly reported is presented.

Caulfield introduced the denomination "bile peritonitis in infancy" to characterize the condition. This, however, seems rather inappropriate, since the bile-stained fluid removed from the abdomen in all cases has