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February 1972

Guest Editor's Introduction: AMA Archives Symposium on Diagnostic Techniques in Phlebothrombosis

Author Affiliations

From Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, Boston.

Arch Surg. 1972;104(2):132-133. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1972.04180020012003

Venous thromboembolism has long been a major source of perplexity for physicians, and, more important, of morbidity and death for patients, because the right tools for its clinical study and control have been unavailable. Over the years, many lamentations have been heard about our inability to prevent, or even diagnose, phlebothrombosis in its early stages, a failure which all too often permits fatal pulmonary embolism.

Over the past two decades progress has been made in the control of venous thrombosis in two crucially important sectors: prevention and diagnosis. Prevention has depended partly on identifying patients who are at risk, partly on mechanical maneuvers (early exercise of the legs, occasional venous interruption), and partly on anticoagulant drugs.

In addition to its association with many forms of stress, pregnancy, chronic illness, immobility, and advanced age, venous thrombosis is chiefly a disease of the lower extremities, for they are almost the only source

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