Denervation of the Adrenal Glands for Neurocirculatory Asthenia
Based on favorable results of experimental investigations of the adrenal-sympathetic system and on conclusions drawn from operations on the thyroid-sympathetic system in cases of hyperthyroidism, we have sought to control certain analogous energy-transforming diseases, particularly those due to pathological activity of the adrenal-sympathetic system. To this end, we have performed operations on the adrenal-sympathetic system in 126 cases. On this occasion, however, we shall report the results obtained in one group only, namely, cases of neurocirculatory asthenia.
In the war a certain number of officers and men became incapacitated during their service at the front on account of a baffling disorder which was designated “soldier’s heart,” the principal features being rapid heart beat, nervousness, and fatigue. In the stress of civilian life there are seen many cases of this same condition which is usually given the descriptive name, “neurocirculatory asthenia.” This disease resembles, and is often mistaken for mild hyperthyroidism, especially in those cases in which there is a goiter and a moderate increase in the basal rate.
Neurocirculatory asthenia is a pathological state in which there is an excessive stimulation of the adrenal-sympathetic system, and since other kinds of treatment have failed uniformly, we logically concluded that since hyperactivity of the thyroid — hyperthyroidism — could be reduced, then hyperactivity of the adrenals could likewise be reduced.
In association with Dr. E. P. McCullagh, a critical study has been made of the effects of certain operations on the adrenal gland and sympathetic nerves, the basis for these operations being, as stated. . .