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No emergency demands more immediate surgical intervention for the preservation of the life of a patient than that which attends cardiac arrest in the operating room. If more than a few minutes lapse between the time of cessation of the heartbeat and restimulation of the heart by massage and electricity, one of three things will inevitably result: 1. The patient will die on the operating table. 2. The heartbeat may be restored, even after the maximum length of time for obtaining a satisfactory end-result, but the patient will die within a few hours or a day or two at the most. 3. The most tragic end-result is to be found when the heartbeat has been restored after too long a delay and the patient survives indefinitely without any intelligence.
For a patient to live weeks, months, or even years with the brain cells thus severely damaged by prolonged anoxia is
Davis PH, Compere EL, Bergan JJ. THE MANAGEMENT OF CARDIAC ARREST. JAMA. 1959;170(9):1050–1051. doi:10.1001/jama.1959.63010090001010
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