The Symptoms of Leuchaemia or White Blood

Fullness in the left side, due to enlargement of the spleen, or enlarged lymphatic glands; patient pale and weak; nosebleed or hemorrhage from the bowels; at last dropsy, fever, delirium or stupor, and death.

This is a peculiar disease which has been understood only within the last few years. The principal symptom of the disease, aside from those mentioned above, is an increase of white blood corpuscles. These little bodies, which naturally exist in the blood in the proportion of one hundred to three or four hundred of red-blood corpuscles, in this disease become increased to such an extent as to constitute from 1/30 to 1/6, and in extreme cases, shortly before death, even one-half of the whole number of blood corpuscles. In these extreme cases it is stated that the blood has a whitish appearance; and after death whitish clots are found in the heart and large blood-vessels looking like collections of pus.

The Cause of Leuchaemia or White Blood

Nothing is known of the cause of this peculiar malady. It has been observed that it is always connected, either with enlargement of the spleen or of the lymphatic glands, from which it is supposed that the great increase in number of the white corpuscles is due to an excessive formation of these bodies by the glands naturally engaged in the blood-making process. There is also evidence that the increase of corpuscles is due to morbid activity in the connective tissue cells in various parts of the body. Cases often occur in which there is enlargement of both the spleen and the lymphatic glands. The spleen sometimes attains the size of seven or eight pounds. In a case of the disease which we met several years ago, the whole left side of the ab domen was filled by an enlarged spleen. Lymphatic tumors sometimes reach an enormous size. Enlargement of the spleen from malarial poisoning sometimes results in this disease.

The Treatment of Leuchaemia or White Blood

It is fortunate that this disease is extremely rare, as it is equally difficult to cure. The remedies which have been most recommended have been quinine, iron, and preparations of iodine; but Prof. Niemeyer of Tübingen candidly remarks that by this mode of treatment "no case of recovery from Leuchaemia is known," and that in a case treated by him improvement took place under an opposite mode of treatment. He adds, "I afterward sent the patient to a water-cure establishment where he improved and became healthy looking." Even in this case, the disease returned after the lapse of a year or two, though it is possible it might have been held in check if the patient had continued under proper treatment. All sorts of experiments have been tried in the treatment of this disease. A few years ago, we met a man who had been suffering with the malady for two or three years. After having tried all sorts of remedies, he was at that time drinking warm beef blood every morning at one of the large abattoirs in New York. He had become so disgusted with the remedy, however, that he had made up his mind to abandon it, concluding that the disease with its consequences was to be preferred. Cases of recovery from this disease have been reported to have taken place in consequence of the operation of transfusion of blood. This operation consists in pumping into the veins of the patient a supply of healthy blood from another individual. The blood of the sheep is sometimes used instead, but human blood is undoubtedly much more effective. The operation is usually performed upon the arm. Fig. 317 shows the simplest mode of procedure. In some cases the blood is drawn from the arm of the individual supplying it, and is deprived of its fibrine by whipping before being injected into the arm of the patient. This plan lessens the danger of formation of clots, but is less effective than the more direct method shown in the cut.

Fig. 317. Blood Transfusion

Fig. 317. Blood Transfusion