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May 1929


Arch Surg. 1929;18(5):2167-2175. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1929.01140140123006

Postoperative pneumonia, despite the study it has received, remains a dreaded complication of surgical therapy. In an assembled table of figures from clinics here and abroad, Cutler and Hunt1 found that in operations on 41,368 patients there was an incidence of pneumonia of 1.12 per cent, 46 per cent of whom died—a mortality by operation of about 0.5 per cent. These figures require explanation, however. The apparently low general mortality of 0.5 per cent is greatly increased in certain operations, notably those on the stomach, as will be discussed later. On the other hand, the high death rate in those cases in which pneumonia develops is due to a considerable extent to the association of other grave conditions. Among patients who were well and came in for an operation of choice and then developed pneumonia Whipple2 found only nine deaths in sixty-one cases, a mortality of 15 per