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May 9, 1959


Author Affiliations

New Orleans

From the Department of Medicine, Tulane Medical School, and Charity Hospital of Louisiana.

JAMA. 1959;170(2):160-163. doi:10.1001/jama.1959.03010020018005

A comparative study of circulatory and respiratory functions was carried out in 163 female hospital patients, 88 of them being in an air-conditioned ward while 75 were in a warm and humid ward affected by the outside weather. The numerical data were supplemented by systematic notes on appearance and behavior of the patients. Although the average age of the patients in the air-conditioned ward was five years greater, their mean systolic blood pressure was lower, pulse rate slower, and oral temperatures lower than those of the patients in the non-air-conditioned ward. Three cases are described in detail to show that in some situations the transfer from the warm, humid ward to the air-conditioned ward was decisive in bringing about the patient's recovery. A fourth case exemplifies the occasional unfavorable response to the change; there were nine instances of this. The possibility that the patient might benefit from an air-conditioned environment should be kept in mind, especially in cases of heart disease.