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October 7, 1983

Clinical Features of Sudden Obstruction of the Coronary Arteries

JAMA. 1983;250(13):1757-1762. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03340130075039

Obstruction of a coronary artery or of any of its large branches has long been regarded as a serious accident. Several events contributed toward the prevalence of the view that this condition was almost always suddenly fatal. Parry's writings on angina pectoris and its relation to coronary disease, Jenner's observations on the same condition centering about John Hunter's case, Thorvaldsen's tragic death in the theater in Copenhagen with the finding of a plugged coronary, sharply attracted attention to the relation between the coronary and sudden death. In Germany Cohnheim supported the views of Hyrtl and Henle as to lack of considerable anastomosis, and as late as 1881 lent the influence of his name to the doctrine that the coronary arteries were end-arteries; his Leipsic necropsy experience, as well as experiments on dogs, forced him to conclude that the sudden occlusion of one of these vessels or of one of the