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August 2, 1965

What Is Not Closed Is Open

Author Affiliations

Rochester, Minn

JAMA. 1965;193(5):405. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090050081042

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To the Editor:—  I have been struck on many occasions with the misuse of the word "occlusion." Literally, occlusion means closed. It does not mean half closed, partially closed, a little bit closed, or a lot closed. When an artery is narrowed but not closed, it is stenotic. Thus "completely occluded" or "partially occluded" leaves the reader with confusion, as it makes considerable difference in our understanding of cerebral blood flow whether the artery is closed, stenotic, or normal in size.For instance, in a recent article 50 cases of "occlusion of the internal carotid artery" are reported; however, careful review reveals that a number of them are only stenotic or "partially occluded." Thus, when one reads the phrase "completely occluded" in a manuscript one is not certain whether the author is really talking about stenosis but using the single word "occluded."Eccentricity has always abounded when and where strength

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