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May 1965

Penetrating Wounds of the Heart: Report on a New Series

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, Harlem Hospital Center. Director of Surgery, Harlem Hospital Center and Professor of Clinical Surgery, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University (Dr. Maynard); Formerly Senior Resident in Surgery, Harlem Hospital Center (Dr. Brooks); Assistant Attending Surgeon, Harlem Hospital Center (Dr. Froix).

Arch Surg. 1965;90(5):680-686. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1965.01320110016004

T HIS third communication on a series of penetrating wounds of the heart spans the period from June 1, 1955, through June 30, 1963. It involves 64 patients, all but two with intraluminal penetrations. Of the patients, 58 had surgical intervention with 53 survivals and five deaths for a mortality rate of 8.6%, which represents a salient reduction from the last reported surgical mortality rate of 25%10,11 (Fig 1). Of the six patients not subjected to surgery, one died in transit to the operating room, two in the operating room before operations could start, and two died because of missed early diagnosis. The remaining one, with hemopericardium and tamponade, a case previously reported,8 stabilized and recovered without either surgery or aspiration.

Considered in the context of a patient group reaching the hospital alive, officially admitted, and amenable to therapeutic measures, this lowered surgical mortality rate is gratifying. However,

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