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March 1955

Relation of Gallstone Disease to Angina Pectoris

Author Affiliations

From the Surgical and Medical Clinics of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and the Harrison Department of Surgical Research, Schools of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania.

AMA Arch Surg. 1955;70(3):333-342. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1955.01270090011004

Forty-five years have gone by since Robert Babcock,1 of Chicago, in a paper published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, called attention to the frequent association of gallstone disease and cardiac disease. He stated, in part, that

There is, however, another point of interest in the matter of the symptomatology of gallbladder disease, namely, the occurrence of disorders in the action of the heart, from arrhythmia and precordial oppression, without dyspnea, to demonstrable dilatation and incompetence, dating usually from some attack of biliary colic or acute cholecystitis, and thenceforth maintained by recurrences of the acute disturbance.

He reported 13 patients having this syndrome and concluded

Experience has convinced me that the opening and draining of the gallbladder are attended with less danger when properly performed, even though myocardial incompetence be present, than is the doctrine of non-interference.

David Riesman,2 of Philadelphia, had two years previously reported

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