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November 1958

Effect of Thoracotomy on White Blood Cell Count

Author Affiliations

Selah, Wash.

AMA Arch Surg. 1958;77(5):689-698. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1958.01290040037004

Our interest in changes in white blood cell counts during thoracotomy was stimulated by the report of Bierman2 in which he stated that the pulmonary artery blood contained more white cells, particularly of the polymorphonuclear leukocyte series, than did the peripheral blood. In July, 1954, we began drawing blood from the pulmonary artery during pulmonary resections after the artery was isolated but before the branches were ligated. A high white cell count, over three times the preoperative count, was found, predominantly in the granulocytic series. When simultaneous counts were made on peripheral blood, either arterial or venous, they were found to be elevated to the same degree and also had this marked left shift. The present paper is a summary of our investigations conducted at the Central Washington Tuberculosis Hospital in over 75 thoracotomies.

Material and Method 

First Group.  —During 50 consecutive pulmonary resections, peripheral blood was drawn preoperatively

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