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these cases the children were born alive." (Merriman's Synopsis, p. 99.) It is to Dr. Michaelis of Kiel that we are indebted for much recent and valuable information on the subject of replacing the prolapsed cord. Having pointed out the fact that it is the uterus alone which prevents the cord from prolapsing, he shows that, in order to replace the cord, we must carry it "above that circular portion of the uterus which is contracted over the presenting part." The reposition of the cord may be effected by the hand, or by means of an elastic catheter and ligature. In replacing the cord by means of the hand alone, Dr. Michaelis remarks that we shall effect this more readily by merely insinuating the hand between the head and the uterus, and gradually passing it farther round the head, pushing the cord before it. In this manner we do not require to rupture the membranes when we have felt the cord before the liquor amnii has escaped; a point of considerable importance.

The reposition, by means of the catheter, is effected by passing a silk ligature, doubled, along a stout thick elastic catheter, from twelve to sixteen inches in length, so that the loop comes out at the upper extremity; the catheter is introduced into the vagina, and the ligature is passed through the coil of the umbilical cord, and again brought down to the os externum. A stilet with a wooden handle is introduced into the catheter, the point passed out at its upper orifice, and the loop of the ligature hung upon it; it is then drawn back into the catheter and pushed up to the end. The operator has now only to pull down the ends of the ligature, so as to tighten it slightly, passing the catheter up to the cord, which now becomes securely fixed to its extremity. When the reposition has been effected, he has merely to withdraw the stilet; the cord is instantly disengaged.* To prevent any injury, the ligature should be brought away first, and then the catheter.

Dr. Michaelis has recorded eleven cases of prolapsus of the cord, where it has been returned by the above means, in nine of which the child was born alive. In three cases the arm presented also, which was replaced, and the head, brought down; in two of these the child was born alive. (British and Foreign Med. Review, vol. i. p. 588.) A similar plan of replacing the cord by means of an elastic catheter has been tried by Dr. Collins, but he had not tried it sufficiently often at the time of publishing his Practical Treatise to be able to give a decided opinion about it.

The plan of introducing a piece of sponge after replacing the cord, in order to prevent its coming down again, is of no use whatever. Dr. Collins tried it in several instances, and considers that "it is quite impossible, however, in the great majority of cases, to succeed in this way in protecting the funis from pressure, as it is no sooner returned, than we find it forced down in another direction." The plan has been recommended by several modern authors, but it is by no means a new invention, having been proposed by Mauriceau; it does not appear, however, that he ever put it in practice.

Where no pulsation can be felt in the prolapsed funis, which is flabby and evidently empty, no interference will be required; the child is dead, and therefore the labour may be permitted to take its course. We should, however, be cautious in examining the cord where it is without pulsation,

*[A figure of this instrument is given in Dewees' Midwifery, Pl. XVIII. and the method of using it fully described.-ED.]

and yet feels tolerably full and turgid, for a slight degree of circulation may go on nevertheless, sufficient to keep life enough in the fœtus, even for it to recover if the labour be hastened. We should especially examine the cord during the intervals of the pains, and after we have guided it into a more favourable part of the pelvis, where it will not be exposed to so much pressure, for then the pulsation will become more sensible to our touch, and prove that the child is still alive.

The following case by Dr. Evory Kennedy is an excellent illustration of what we have now stated:-"'The midwife informed me that there was no pulsation in the funis, which had been protruding for an hour; on examination made during a pain, a fold of the funis was found protruding from the vagina, at its lateral part, and devoid of pulsation. As the pain subsided, I drew the funis backwards towards the sacro-iliac symphysis, and thought I could observe a very indistinct and irregular pulsation; I now applied the stethoscope, and distinguished a slight foetal pulsation over the pubes. Fortunately, on learning the nature of the case, I had brought the forceps, which were now instantly applied, and the patient delivered of a still-born child, which, with perseverance, was brought to breathe, and is now a living and healthy boy, four years of age. Had I not in this case ascertained, by the means mentioned, that the child still lived, I should not have felt justified in interfering; but, supposing the child dead, would have left the case to nature, and five minutes, in all likelihood, would have decided the child's fate." (Dr. Evory Kennedy, on Pregnancy and Auscultation, p. 241.)






WOMEN are liable, both before, during, and after labour to attacks of convulsions, not only of variable intensity, but differing considerably in point of character. We shall consider them under three separate heads, viz. epileptic convulsions with cerebral congestion; epileptic convulsions from collapse or anæmia; and hysterical convulsions. Other species have been enumerated by authors, but they are either varieties of, or intimately connected with, those of the first species.

No author has more distinctly pointed out the fact that epilepsy may arise from diametrically opposite causes than Dr. Cullen; a circumstance which, in a practical point of view, is of the greatest importance. "The occasional causes," says he, "may, I think, be properly referred to two general heads; the first, being those which seem to act by directly stimulating and exciting the energies of the brain, and the second, of those which seem to act by weakening the same." "A certain fulness and tension of the vessels of the brain is necessary to the support of its ordinary and constant energy in the distribution of the nervous power" (Practice of Physic;) and hence it may be inferred that, on the one hand, an over-distention, and, on the other, a collapsed state of these vessels, will be liable to be attended with so much cerebral disturbance as to produce epilepsy.

Epileptic convulsions with cerebral congestion. Epileptic convulsions connected with pregnancy or parturition, and which are preceded and attended with cerebral congestion, alone deserve, strictly speaking, the name of Eclampsia parturientium (which, in fact, signifies nothing more than the epilepsy of parturient females,) being peculiar to this condition; whereas, the anæmic and hysterical convulsions may occur at any other time quite independent of the pregnant or parturient state.

The term "puerperal convulsions" is employed in a much more vague and extended sense, and applies generally to every sort of convulsive affection which may occur at this period, and, as such, it therefore forms the title of the present chapter.

Causes. The exciting cause of eclampsia parturientium is the irritation. arising from the presence of the child in the uterus or passages, or from a state of irritation, thus produced, continuing to exist after labour. The predisposing causes are, general plethora, the pressure of the gravid uterus upon

the abdominal aorta, the contractions of that organ during labour, by which a large quantity of the blood circulating in its spongy parietes is driven into the rest of the system, constipation, deranged bowels, retention of urine, previous injuries of the head or cerebral disease, and much mental excitement, early youth: also "in persons of hereditary predisposition, spare habit, irritable temperament, high mental refinement, and in whom the excitability of the nervous, and subsequently the sanguiferous system, is called forth by causes apparently trivial." (Facts and Cases in Obstetric Medicine, by I. T. Ingleby, p. 5.)

Symptoms. From the above mentioned list of causes it will be evident, that these convulsions will be invariably attended and preceded by symptoms of strong determination of blood to the head. Previous to the attack the patient has "drowsiness, a sense of weight in the head, especially in stooping; beating and pain in the head; redness of the conjunctiva; numbness of the hands; flushing of the face, and twitching of its muscles; irregular and slow pulse; ringing in the ears, heat in the scalp, transient but frequent attacks of vertigo, with muscæ volitantes, or temporary blindness; derangement of the auditory nerve; embarrassment of mind and speech; an unsteady gait; constipation and œdematous swelling." (Ingleby, op. cit. p. 12.)

As the attack approaches, the patient frequently complains of a peculiar dragging pain and sense of oppression about the præcordia, which comes on and again abates at short intervals, and is attended with much restlessness and anxiety: this is followed by intense pain, which usually attacks the back of the head, and upon the accession of which the præcordial affection apparently ceases; the pulse now becomes smaller and more contracted. If the convulsions do not make their appearance by this time, and the headach continues one or more hours, a slight degree of coma supervenes, the patient loses her consciousness more and more, and wanders now and then; after a time she becomes restless and evidently uneasy, the eye becomes fixed and staring, the countenance changes, and the outbreak of convulsive movements follows.

Sometimes the premonitory symptoms are much less marked; indeed, in some cases, there is scarcely a sign to warn us of the impending danger; in the midst of a conversation the patient becomes suddenly silent, and, on looking to see the cause, we find the expression altered, the muscles of the face are twitching, the features beginning to be distorted, and the next moment she falls down in general convulsions.

Wigand (Geburt des Menschen, vol. i. § 102,) considers that the two symptoms which usher in the attack are, the frightful staring, followed by rolling of the eyes, with sudden starts from right to left, and twisting of the head to the same side by the same sudden movements; as soon as the convulsions have commenced, the head generally returns to its former position, or rather is pulled more or less backwards; "The eyes are wide open, staring, and very prominent, the eyelids twitch violently, the iris is rapidly convulsed with alternate contractions and dilatations; the face begins to swell and grow purple, the mouth is open and distorted, through which the tongue is protruded, brown, and covered with froth; the lips swell, and become purple: in fact, it is the complete picture of one who is strangled." (Op. cit.)

These convulsions, as in common epilepsy under other circumstances, usually, if not always, commence about the head and face, gradually passing down to the chest and abdomen, and then attacking the extremities. After the above-mentioned changes, they pass into the throat and neck, by which a state of trismus is produced, and the protruded tongue is not unfrequently caught between the teeth and severely wounded. The neck is violently pulled on one side, and from the pressure to which the trachea is subjected, severe dyspnoea is produced. The respiration is nearly suspended, and from the violent rushing of the air as it is forced through the contracted rima glottidis, the breathing is performed with a peculiar hissing sound. The muscles of the chest now become affected, and the thorax is convulsively heaved and depressed with great vehemence; those of the abdomen succeed, and the convulsive efforts are here, if possible, still more violent such are the contractions of the abdominal muscles, and so powerfully do they compress the contents of the abdomen, that a person who had not previously seen the patient would scarcely believe she was pregnant; the next moment the abdomen is as much protruded as it was before compressed. From the same cause, the contents of the rectum and bladder are expelled unconsciously, the extremities become violently convulsed, and the patient is bedewed with a cold clammy sweat. The duration of such a fit is variable; it seldom lasts more than five minutes, and frequently not more than two, and then a gradual subsidence of the convulsions and other symptoms follow; the swollen and livid face returns to its natural size and colour, the eyes become less prominent, the lips less turgid, the breathing is easier and more calm, the viscid saliva ceases to be blown into foam from the mouth, and the patient is left in a state of comatose insensibility or deep stertorous sleep, from which, in the course of a quarter of an hour, or twenty minutes, she suddenly awakes, quite unconscious of what has been the matter; she stares about with a vacant expression of surprise; she feels stiff and sore as if she were bruised: this will be especially the case if it has been attempted to hold her during the fit. The convulsive efforts of the muscles of the body and extremities are not easily resisted, and thus it is that we hear of a delicate woman under these circumstances requiring several strong men to hold her: the result of such treatment is, that her muscles and joints are severely strained, and continue painful for some time after. Patients, on recovering their senses, frequently complain of pain and soreness in the mouth, arising from the tongue having been bitten; in some cases, where the tongue has been much protruded, the injury is very severe, the tongue being bitten completely across, and hanging only by a small portion.

The woman may suffer but one attack, and have no return of the fit, or in half an hour, an hour, or longer, the convulsions again appear as at first. If this happens several times, she does not recover her consciousness during the intervals, but remains in a continued state of coma from one fit to another. Although it rarely happens that the patient dies during a fit, still, nevertheless, one fit will in some cases be sufficient to throw her into a state of coma from which she does not recover; in others, the patient may lie for even twenty-four hours in strong convulsions and yet recover.

The character of these attacks appears to vary a good deal with the

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