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November 29, 1947


JAMA. 1947;135(13):812-814. doi:10.1001/jama.1947.02890130002002

Data concerning thoracic wounds during the last war are still incomplete, and final results cannot be assessed. Sufficient information is available, however, to indicate that the mortality from wounds of the chest has been the lowest ever recorded in the history of warfare. In 1944, Carter and DeBakey1 reported the mortality rates in over 20,000 cases of war wounds of the chest in World War II. The total mortality was 8.1 per cent. A comparison of this figure with World War I, in which the death rate was 24.5 per cent, furnishes a dramatic demonstration of the great progress which has been made in the management of injuries of the chest.

It would be easy to attribute the lowest mortality for wounds of the chest which has ever been recorded in the history of warfare to new and novel surgical technics and to the development of modern thoracic operations.

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