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THE REFLEX ACTION OF VOLATILE IRRITANTS ON THE CIRCULATION

C. C. LIEB, M.D.; W. W. HERRICK, M.D.
Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1917;XIX(5_I):811-822. doi:10.1001/archinte.1917.00080240130010.
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Among the measures in common use in combating conditions of threatened or actual circulatory failure, is the subcutaneous or intramuscular injection of volatile substances of a highly irritant nature. Among these so-called circulatory stimulants are ether, alcohol in the form of whisky or brandy, and camphor dissolved in ether, alcohol, or oil. The clinical use of these substances in shock and allied conditions is based, not on exact experimental observation, but on casual bedside impression and tradition.

OBJECT OF THE EXPERIMENTS  As a result both of laboratory observation and clinical experience, we have for some time held the opinion that the effects of the injection of volatile irritants were due, not to a direct stimulation of the circulation, but to a reflex action arising from intense irritation of sensory nerve endings. That intense irritation or stimulation of a sensory nerve may lead to a reflex rise in blood

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