Crisis is a word used with several distinct meanings. (1) The traditional meaning is that of a rapid loss of fever and return to comparative health in certain acute diseases. For example, PNEUMONIA, if allowed to run its natural course, ends by a crisis usually on the eighth day, the temperature falling in 24 hours to normal, the pulse and breathing becoming slow and regular and the patient passing from a partly delirious state into natural sleep. In this sense of the word, the opposite of crisis is lysis: for example, in typhoid fever (see ENTERIC FEVER), where the patient slowly improves during a period of a week or more, without any sudden change. (2) A current use of the word crisis, and still more frequently of critical, is to signify a dangerous state of illness in which it is uncertain whether the suﬀerer will recover or not.
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