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June 1964

Acute Abdominal Emergencies in Patients With Cirrhosis: Causes

Author Affiliations

Formerly Resident in Medicine, Veterans Administration Hospital, (Dr. Finlayson); Chief of Gastroenterology, Veterans Administration Hospital, and Associate Professor of Medicine, Western Reserve University (Dr. Roth).; Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, Western Reserve University and the Veterans Administration Hospital.

Arch Surg. 1964;88(6):947-953. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1964.01310240043010

A patient with cirrhosis of the liver presented signs and symptoms of peritonitis, but no evidence of an intra-abdominal condition that might cause peritonitis. He died, and at postmortem examination the peritonitis was demonstrated but no cause was found. This observation prompted the present review of acute intra-abdominal emergencies in patients with cirrhosis. The review had two objectives: First, to identify any other instances of peritonitis in which a cause had not been established; second, to determine the incidence of other causes of acute intra-abdominal emergencies.

Case Material  A review was made of the medical records of all patients admitted to the Veterans Administration Hospital, Cleveland, between July, 1946, and May, 1957, in whom the diagnosis of Laennec's cirrhosis of the liver had been made. There were 576 males and one female. Of these patients, 227 died during an admission to the hospital, and postmortem examinations were performed on 160

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