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June 2, 1962

Persistent Dilatation of a Blood Vessel in the Temple

Author Affiliations

Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C.

JAMA. 1962;180(9):793. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050220085020

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To the Editor:—  In response to an inquiry in the Questions and Answers section of The Journal (179:588 [Feb. 17] 1962), it must be noted that the physician answering the question about persistent dilatation of a blood vessel in the temple after use of alcohol makes the quite unwarranted assumption that the involved vessel is a vein, whereas common experience would suggest that the patient is probably noting simply dilatation of the superficial temporal artery. The prominence of this vessel in some individuals varies considerably from day to day, often without apparent cause; the artery may become distinctly enlarged after drinking alcohol (but whether due to edema of its wall or actual dilatation is unknown).This interesting reaction was the main theme in one of John McNulty's stories of saloon life in New York City; in this, a bartender notes that swelling of the temporal vessels is presumptive evidence

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