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May 25, 1963


JAMA. 1963;184(8):653-654. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03700210087018

Diseases which remain undiagnosed until they are discovered at autopsy are frequently thought to cause death whenever they occur. However, this assumption is often disproved when new investigational techniques permit diagnosis during life. The changing clinical viewpoint regarding endocardial fibroelastosis is an example of altered medical opinion concerning a disorder previously described as being "100% fatal."

Linde and Adams1 have recently described 17 children with primary endocardial fibroelastosis. Cardiac catheterization and selective angiocardiography were performed on 12 patients. A follow-up study of patients treated medically during a period ranging from three to ten years revealed that all abnormal physical and laboratory findings had subsided in four patients, and six were clinically improved. Two patients were treated surgically with installation of talc into the pericardial sac; one died nine months after surgery, and the clinical status of the other is satisfactory. These instances of cure or improvement in cases of