To the Editor.—In the article "Gastrointestinal Complication After Cardiac Surgery,"1 Welling et al provide an interesting discussion of their topic. Their low rate of gastrointestinal complication (1%), combined with the rarity of cardiac surgery in the general population, makes their study's lack of a control group quite reasonable.
It was not clear, however, why Welling et al excluded from their study a patient with multiple abdominal complications. This patient subsequently died, and her inclusion would have raised their mortality by 50%. It is also curious that, though Welling et al propose an ischemic cause, they report on pathologic examination of biopsy specimens in only three patients.
QUINN KP. Mortality of Gastrointestinal Complication After Cardiac Surgery. Arch Surg. 1987;122(8):957. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1987.01400200107022