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SUDDEN DEATH AND MERCURIAL DIURETICS

M. HERBERT BARKER, M.D.; HOWARD A. LINDBERG, M.D.; MORRIS E. THOMAS, M.D.
JAMA. 1942;119(13):1001-1004. doi:10.1001/jama.1942.02830300013005.
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Our purpose in this communication is to report the death of 4 patients following the injection of different mercurial diuretics and to point out the similarity of the cardiac function of these patients at the time of death to the experimental cardiac arrest in dogs produced by mercury.

Jackson1 reported on the pharmacologic action of organic mercury compounds on the heart. By using 5 cc. of a 2 per cent solution of salyrgan intravenously, he was able regularly to produce death by ventricular fibrillation within three to five minutes in normal dogs under ether anesthesia. If the vagus inhibition of the heart was removed either by direct section or by large doses of atropine, death occurred from respiratory failure before the onset of ventricular fibrillation. He was of the opinion that the mercurials acted primarily on the heart through the mechanism of stimulation of the vagus and secondarily on

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