An attempt to ascertain the cause of death in intestinal obstruction immediately gives rise to these fundamental questions: First (the long debated question), are there formation and absorption of a toxin in the loop of the bowel above the obstruction? Second, is there an altered absorption rate, either an increased absorption of substances normally present in the intestinal tract or a decreased absorption below the obstruction because substances secreted in the upper segment fail to reach the lower absorption area? The latter phenomenon may be the fundamental principle of a normal physiochemical balance.
It is now the opinion of most writers and authorities on the subject that intestinal obstruction may be classified either as simple obstruction or as obstruction with gangrene, or interference with the blood supply. We know there is a gross difference between the two conditions. That there is a toxic element in the second group is indisputable;