In a recent experimental study of the factors causing death in cases of uncomplicated acute intestinal obstruction a serious and rapid fall in the volume of circulating plasma was observed.1 This extreme loss of plasma occurred as a result of distention of the obstructed small intestine and continued as long as the distention continued. Evidence was obtained that "intravenous plasma in amounts adequate to replace that lost as a result of obstructing and distending the empty small intestine confers a protective influence sufficient to markedly prolong the life of the animal."2 This effect was not secured by the use of equal or larger amounts of physiologic solution of sodium chloride.
Since distention is responsible for the loss of plasma, decompression should be accompanied by a retardation of the loss or indeed by a gain of plasma volume. Experimental data in confirmation of this inference are presented here.