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Article
July 7, 1956

RISK OF SURGERY IN POLIOMYELITIS PATIENTS DEPENDENT ON RESPIRATORS

JAMA. 1956;161(10):935-937. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02970100001001
Abstract

• A total of 21 surgical operations have been done in 17 patients who were dependent on respiratory aids to varying degrees. Psychological preparation was essential. Some patients who were able to get along with the chest respirator or the rocking bed preoperatively were nevertheless transferred to a tank respirator after surgery and continued in it for hours or days after the operation. During the operative procedure and until the patients were placed in a respiratory aid after surgery, an anesthesiologist controlled their respirations. Patients who had been accustomed to the chest respirator had to be kept in a tank respirator after laparotomy until the abdominal incision was no longer sensitive.

Three case histories illustrate the principle that surgery is not contraindicated even in patients with chronic poliomyelitis with partial quadriplegia and vital capacities as low as 190 cc.

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