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December 26, 1953


JAMA. 1953;153(17):1570. doi:10.1001/jama.1953.02940340072018

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To the Editor:—  The editorial in the Oct. 24, 1953, issue of The Journal, "Surgical Survival of the Young and of the Aged," contains a passage that states that elderly patients are more susceptible to anoxia than young patients. This statement is open to debate.Experiments of German investigators (Ruff, S.: Grundriss der Luftfahrtmedizin, Leipzig, 1944, J. A. Barth, p. 94) in the medium of low pressure chambers, in combination with graduated exercise tests within them, showed that tolerance to oxygen want uniformly increases, that is, susceptibility to anoxia decreases with advancing age. As previously stated (May, S. H.: Air Travel and the Cardiac Patient, Am. Heart J.40:363, 1950), this should not be too surprising. Variations in oxygen tension and acid-base equilibrium of the blood are chiefly controlled by the chemoreceptor fibers in the aortic and carotid bodies. It must be thought that the challenge to these nerve

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