Injury to the heart as a result of a stab or gunshot wound is not an uncommon emergency. There exists an apparent increase in the frequency with which these wounds are seen. It is not believed that this increase is due to any surge in the combative nature of the populace; rather, it may result from a better recognition of these wounds by the medical profession.
As early as 1886 Fischer1 collected 452 cases of cardiac wounds treated by conservative methods. By 1932 Ramsdell2 was able to find reports of 428 cases of heart wounds which had been operated upon. Bigger,3 in 1939, reported a collected series of 141 additional heart wounds. Since then there have been numerous reports concerning the proper treatment of these wounds. A controversy arose as to whether cardiac injuries should be treated definitively by operation or whether, when cardiac tamponade was present,