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December 1969

Secondary Disruption of Vascular Repair Following War Wounds

Author Affiliations

From US Naval Hospitals, Yokosuka, Japan, and Great Lakes, Ill (Commander Brisbin and Captain Geib), and Departments of Surgery, University of Colorado Medical School and Denver General Hospital, Denver (Dr. Eiseman).

Arch Surg. 1969;99(6):787-791. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1969.01340180111022

Salvage of limbs by surgical repair of critical vessels was one of the major advances of the Korean War.1,2 While the amputation rate in World War II was 48.9% when ligation was employed,3 in roughly comparable injuries treated in the Korean War by vascular repair, it was 13%.1

In the years following the Korean War, almost every surgeon became familiar with vascular surgical techniques during his training. As a result, every unit in Vietnam has surgeons capable of performing vascular repairs—a situation unknown in previous military experience.

Impressed by the advances in vascular surgery which improve the blood supply to so many arteriosclerotic limbs in civilian practice, the young, military surgeons in Vietnam understandably have performed vascular repair at the time of initial debridement when severed arteries of any appreciable size are recognized.4 Rich and Hughes5 report over 1,300 cases in which "several hundred surgeons,"

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