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Newer Aspects of Septicemia in Surgical Patients

W. A. ALTEMEIER, MD; JOSEPH C. TODD, MD; WELLFORD W. INGE, MD
Arch Surg. 1966;92(4):566-572. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1966.01320220122020.
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ALTHOUGH modern antibiotic therapy has been in widespread use for 22 years, invasive infection with septicemia continues to be a serious problem in surgical practice.1, 6,7 After the introduction of penicillin, followed in succession by a multiplicity of broad spectrum antimicrobial agents, there were high hopes that the incidence, severity, and mortality from septicemia would be drastically reduced. Such appears not to have been the case, however, and clinical experience has suggested that the incidence of septicemia is probably increasing.2,3,5,9 Moreover, many cases of severe and often rapidly fatal septicemia caused by gramnegative bacteria have occurred in recent years.2,6,8,10-16 During a 21-day period in November and December 1964, the senior author saw 24 surgical patients with septicemia in consultation. Only three of these were caused by the Staphylococcus aureus, the remainder were caused by various types of gram-negative bacilli which in 13 instances were strains of Pseudomonas

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