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February 12, 1955


JAMA. 1955;157(7):596-597. doi:10.1001/jama.1955.02950240034014

It has long been recognized that smoking causes temporary peripheral vasoconstriction, elevation of the blood pressure, and increase in the pulse rate. There has, however, heretofore been no definite proof that tobacco causes or aggravates coronary disease. In order to resolve this point, Russek and his co-workers (see this issue, page 563) and other recent investigators have used the ballistocardiogram. Russek has found that in patients with coronary disease there is a striking tendency for the ballistocardiographic pattern to deteriorate after smoking, in contrast to the absence of such changes in normal subjects. Although the exact mechanism of this change is not clear this is interpreted as indicating some sort of myocardial damage. In many of these patients abstinence from smoking results in progressive improvement in the ballistocardiographic pattern. Hammond and Horn,1 relying on questionnaires, made a follow-up study of the relationship between smoking and death rates from various

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