Deaths due to diagnostic procedures are among the worst medical tragedies. They are impossible to explain to the patient's relatives and are particularly horrifying if the patient was in good health prior to the procedure. For this reason, a diagnostic procedure, to be accepted, generally, should be more than reasonably safe. Until recently, translumbar aortography seems to have fallen into this category, but the recent literature bears a disturbing number of case reports of fatal and serious complications following use of this diagnostic method (Table). We have seen a patient who died of uremia and a hemorrhagic diathesis following translumbar aortography, which prompted a review of the literature and the following case report.
Report of a Case
A 12-year-old white girl was first seen at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children in December, 1951, with chief complaints of frontal headaches and hypertension of six months' duration. On admission her blood pressure