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January 1940


Author Affiliations

From the Department of Thoracic Surgery and the Laboratory of Neuropathology, Philadelphia General Hospital.

Arch Surg. 1940;40(1):24-42. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1940.04080010027004

Postoperative complications of many types have long commanded the respectful attention of surgeons. Among the most serious, and the least well understood, are those which affect the central nervous system. Motor paralyses occurring in persons of the older age groups after operations have long been considered a coincidental accident having no direct connection with the operation. Such complications in younger persons have usually been looked on as the result of embolism from the operative site. Sudden death during or immediately after operation has been ascribed to cerebral embolism or to individual idiosyncrasy to the anesthetic. Prolonged coma, convulsions or psychic disturbances occurring during or shortly after operation have been commonly considered the result of the toxic effects of the anesthetic or of the "toxemia" arising from the condition requiring operation.

In this paper we wish to show that the cerebral complications of various types encountered after surgical operation may be

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