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February 1969

Effect of Hyperbaric Oxygen on Experimental Intestinal Obstruction

Author Affiliations

Buffalo, NY
From the Department of Surgery, State University of New York, and the Surgical Research Laboratories of the E. J. Meyer Memorial and Veterans Administration hospitals, Buffalo, NY. Doctor Hopkinson is a Buswell Surgical Research Fellow and holder of a Wellcome Travel Grant

Arch Surg. 1969;98(2):228-232. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1969.01340080120027

IN 1908 the mortality for bowel obstruction at the Massachusetts General was 60%. With the introduction of nasogastric decompression tubes and the parenteral administration of fluids, the mortality fell to 20% by 1940.2,3 In 1964 Zollinger4 stated that the mortality for strangulation obstruction had not altered in the last 20 years. In 1965 Leffall et al5 found a 30% mortality for strangulated intestinal obstruction and in 1966 Lo et al6 showed a 24% mortality for all types of small bowel obstruction. Mortality is usually highest in those cases presenting with gangrenous bowel and peritonitis.

Intestinal gas is composed of 75% to 80% nitrogen7-9 and cannot be absorbed because the body is already saturated by the same percentage of nitrogen from breathing air. Attempts to wash out this nitrogen by inhalation of 85% to 100% oxygen at atmospheric pressure were not very successful.8-10


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