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Most physicians go through life collecting anecdotes, medical horror stories, and recollections of personal triumphs and failures (usually someone else's). The sum total of his remembrances the physician calls "his experience." The trouble with this type of experience is that it tends to be brightened by the triumphs and darkened by the failures, since these are the highlights most likely to be remembered. Experience in medicine, as expressed in statistics, must be collected prospectively, consecutively, and completely to be meaningful.
Since the advent of cardiac catheterization and angiocardiography, it has been recognized that dangers and complications exist. Information on the risk and incidence of complications has been a matter of conjecture or based on reports of experience gained by scattered groups, usually collected in retrospect. But that unfortunate era is past.
The Cooperative Study of Cardiac Catheterization is the first adequate approach to the problem. This small book was
American Heart Association Monograph, No. 20: Cooperative Study on Cardiac Catheterization. Arch Intern Med. 1969;123(4):477–478. doi:10.1001/archinte.1969.00300140123040
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