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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Cause of sickness

Susan Haselden

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My grandfather was sent home from the Western Front in September 1916 and discharged with `sickness caused by AS'.

Can anyone tell me what AS is, please. Susan

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It could also be aortic stenosis.

Thanks both of you. I did think of artillery shock or shelling, but active service is probably more feasible. I don't think it is aortic stenosis as he was gassed during his time on the Western Front and suffered with stomach problems until his death in 1945. Cause of death on his certificate is listed as

a) uraemia, B) retention of urine and c) persistent hiccoughs.

Thanks again for your help. Susan

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The word 'sickness' coupled with 'AS' meaning 'aortic stenosis' does not sound like something a doctor would write. It would be something like 'Complications related to...' or similar. The causes of death are very intriguing, and argue very strongly against AS being aortic stenosis. 'Uraemia' and 'persistent hiccoughs' go together. They indicate severe kidney failure. 'Retention of urine' is interesting. Retention of urine results in an enlarged bladder that is easily felt via the abdomen. If the urine is not drained, then the back pressure will cause acute kidney failure, with uraemia and hiccoughing. But it seems odd that the doctors would not have drained the bladder in some way. Normally, severe kidney failure results in little or no urine. This could have been mistaken for 'retention of urine' because he did not pass urine from the bladder, or it may have been used to mean the same thing as oliguria, ie that the patient was 'retaining' urine because his kidneys were not creating it.

So this man died of severe kidney failure. What we don't know is whether this was acute or due to some chronic disease that got worse. If AS means 'active service' then it would suggest that the problem was acute kidney failure.


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