Sapremia

sapremia. Intoxication due to absorption of dead saprophytes into the system.

Sapremia  may be defined as an intoxication due to the absorption of dead saprophytes and their products (ptomains and toxalbumins).

Symptoms. The disease sometimes begins with a chill, followed by a marked rise in the temperature, but in most cases the latter is the first evidence of the disease. The skin becomes cold and clammy, there is marked prostration and sometimes diarrhea. When these manifestations occur while a wound is present, they are ominous, and the dangerous complications can be avoided if the dressing of the wound is renewed and perfect antiseptic precautions are taken to thoroughly remove all septic matter from its surface. The constitutional symptoms often disappear of their own accord, when the above has been done, unless the systemic intoxication has not already advanced to thwart all endeavors. There is also a diminution or suppression of the urine, and a blood examination shows leukocytosis.

Treatment. The treatment is at once to drain and asepticize the putrid area and to give large amounts of alcohol. Strychnine and digitalis are useful. Purge the patient, and favor diaphoresis, using in some cases the hot bath. Establish the action of the kidneys; allay vomiting by champagne, cracked ice, calomel, cocain or bismuth. Give liquid food every three hours. Feed on milk, milk and lime water, liquid beef, peptonoids, and other concentrated foods. Use quinine in stimulant doses. Antipyretics are useless. Watch for visceral congestion and treat it at once.

The use of saline fluid by hypodermoclysis or by venous infusion dilutes the poison and stimulates the heart, skin, and kidneys to activity.

In sapremia the blood contains the toxins and dead saprophytic organisms. In septicemia the blood contains both pyogenic toxins and multiplying pyogenic organisms. In sapremia the causative condition is putrid material lodged like a foreign body in the tissues. In septic infection the tissues themselves are suppurating, and both bacteria and toxins are absorbed by the lymphatics. Of course, septic infection may be associated with septic intoxication or may follow it. The symptoms of sapremia depend upon the amount of intoxication.

In septic infection, or septicemia, only a small number of organisms may get into the blood, but they multiply rapidly. A drop of blood from a man with septic infection will reproduce the disease when injected into the blood of an animal; hence it is a true infective disease. The wound in such a case is often small, and is commonly punctured or lacerated.