In spite of the general decrease in the postoperative mortality rates during the past several decades, the incidence of thromboembolic complications still ranks high as the cause of postoperative fatalities. In general, the postoperative hospital mortality rate will be approximately 2%, with from 5% to 10% of these fatalities resulting from pulmonary embolization. In a 6-year survey at the Buffalo General Hospital (1944-1949), there were 33,882 operations performed. Fatal pulmonary emboli occurred in 42 patients, or 0.12% of all operative procedures. The postoperative hospital mortality rate for this series was 1.96%, with 6.3% of the deaths attributable to pulmonary embolization. A subsequent 4-year survey (1956-1959) revealed that there were 33,003 operations performed and 38 patients, or 0.12% of the patients, died as a result of pulmonary embolization. The postoperative hospital mortality rate for this period was 2.45%, with 5% of the deaths attributable to a pulmonary embolus. DeBakey,1 in
MILCH E, BERMAN L, EGAN RW. Bishydroxycoumarin (Dicumarol) Prophylaxis: Use in the Prevention of Postoperative Thromboembolic Complications in Surgical Patients. Arch Surg. 1961;83(3):444–447. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1961.01300150118015
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