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June 1968

Bilateral Pulmonary Embolectomy Through the Left Main Pulmonary ArteryExperimental Study in Dogs

Author Affiliations

New York
From the Department of Surgery, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York.

Arch Surg. 1968;96(6):970-974. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1968.01330240116028

SINCE 75% of patients who die from acute pulmonary embolism do so within one hour1 and, in half of all cases, death may occur too quickly for the use of cardiopulmonary bypass, it was considered useful to investigate in the laboratory a method of pulmonary embolectomy without the support of extracorporeal circulation.2 Experience with three clinical cases of unilateral embolectomy suggested that such a technique include an approach to bilateral pulmonary emboli through a left thoracotomy while circulation is maintained by manual cardiac massage; a means of controlling right heart blood loss; and, relative safety, rapidity, and simplicity of performance. Marion first used a method of bilateral pulmonary embolectomy through the left main pulmonary artery in 1952 and 1956 on two patients with success.3,4 This study was devised to test and standardize this technique in dogs.

Methods and Materials  In 46 mongrel dogs weighing 20 to 30

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