If unrecognized, purulent pericarditis kills the patient. The patient in whom the condition is diagnosed and who is treated expectantly or by therapeutic aspiration fares no better. Operative attack is the only method at one's disposal which offers any chance to cope successfully with the condition.
In spite of a fair percentage of cures from surgical measures, and in spite of the conspicuous reviews of Roberts, Porter, Eliot, Rhodes, Poole and Alexander on the advantages of pericardiotomy when contrasted with the impotence of less radical means, the number of cases in which pericardiotomy is performed for pyopericardium is small. In 1927, we1 could assemble only 128 cases. Of these, 118 were culled from the literature; 9 were contributed from the surgical services of the University Hospital, and 1 was reported through the courtesy of Dr. Harvey B. Stone.
In view of the not infrequent occurrence of the lesion, we
SHIPLEY AM, WINSLOW N. PURULENT PERICARDITIS: REPORT OF FIVE CASES IN WHICH TREATMENT WAS BY PERICARDIOTOMY, AND REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE FROM APRIL 30, 1927, TO JAN. 1, 1934. Arch Surg. 1935;31(3):375–394. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1935.01180150032004
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