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August 1968

Prophylaxis of Pulmonary Embolism: A New Experimental Approach With Initial Results

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, State University of New York at Buffalo and the Surgical Research Laboratories of the Edward J. Meyer Memorial Hospital, Buffalo. Dr. Eichelter is a Buswell fellow in surgical research and is presently at the Second University Surgical Service, Vienna.

Arch Surg. 1968;97(2):348-356. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1968.01340020212026

MASSIVE pulmonary embolism continues to be a frequent cause of death in the postoperative patient as well as in the patient hospitalized for nonsurgical illness. One author has estimated in a recent publication1 that 47,000 patients die each year in the United States of pulmonary embolism. Vena cava ligation or one of its modifications, such as plication or compartmentation, have evolved as the most successful procedures in prevention of fatal emboli. However, such procedures require a major operation on a patient under general anesthesia who is often seriously or desperately ill from his underlying disease process. Such caval operations carry a mortality as high as 20% to 50% in several reported series,2 and significant lower extremity edema in the survivors.

This study was designed to test the hypothesis that an intracaval device capable of preventing passive pulmonary embolism might be constructed, which could be introduced into the inferior