July 26, 1971

Coronary Artery Disease In Vietnam Casualties

Author Affiliations

Augusta, Me

JAMA. 1971;217(4):478. doi:10.1001/jama.1971.03190040070028

To the Editor.—  MAJ J. McNamara and colleagues are to be complimented on their careful documentation of the lower incidence of significan coronary atherosclerosis in US soldiers killed in combat in South Vietnam as compared with those killed in combat in South Korea. I was with a group studying battle wounds in South Vietnam in 1967 to 1968 (United States Army Wound Data and Munitions Effectiveness Team—Vietnam). We made similar observations from our performance of well over 100 gross autopsies on combat casualties, but unfortunately were hampered in our efforts to document this finding in a quantitative manner. It was our impression, however, that we were seeing fewer and less-prominent coronary atheromas than we were accustomed to seeing in young US Army soldiers dying from auto accidents, and considerably less than had been reported in combat casualties in South Korea.Since coronary artery disease is the leading cause of death