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January 1968

A Pathological Study of Unsuccessful Cardiac Resuscitation

Author Affiliations

Durham, NC
From the departments of surgery, pathology, and medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC.

Arch Surg. 1968;96(1):123-126. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1968.01330190125028

CLOSED-CHEST cardiac massage has been used successfully to resuscitate patients since 1960, when the method was introduced by Kouwenhoven et al.1 Because the technique is easily accomplished, anyone in medicine or allied fields can learn to do this emergency procedure. Closed cardiac massage, like open massage, is not without complications. Those reported have included separation of the costochondral junction, fractured ribs, laceration of the inferior vena cava, and lungs with hemothorax and pneumothorax as well as laceration of the aorta, spleen, liver, stomach, and colon.26

The purpose of this communication is to report the pathological findings following unsuccessful cardiac resuscitation and to add to the list of complications rupture of the heart.

Report of a Case  A 69-year-old woman was admitted for evaluation and treatment of severe and progressive congestive heart failure. Seven years previously a by-pass Dacron prosthesis had been inserted from the left femoral to popliteal

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