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May 2, 1959


JAMA. 1959;170(1):73. doi:10.1001/jama.1959.03010010075012

Sudden death may occur in the early stage of acute myocardial infarction as a result of either ventricular standstill or ventricular fibrillation. A few such patients with recent myocardial infarction have been saved, where quick and heroic action together with fortunate circumstances were responsible for resuscitation with cardiac massage during the critical four-minute period.1 It would seem that the time has come when a greater number of deaths from ventricular fibrillation or standstill could be prevented by planned readiness for such emergency resuscitation of patients admitted to the hospital with a diagnosis of recent myocardial infarction. Fortunately, in some patients with acute or impending myocardial infarction a warning develops in the form of bouts of premature beats or advanced atrioventricular block before the fatal change in cardiac mechanism sets in. Consideration should be given to placing patients in the acute stage of myocardial infarction routinely under continuous electrocardiographic observation