REHN1 reported the first successful cardiorrhaphy in 1896. Dr. Luther L. Hill (father of Lister Hill, co-sponsor of the Hill-Burton Act) was the first American to achieve a similar success in 1902.2
Penetrating wounds of the heart and great vessels are occurring with increasing frequency.3 Surgeons in large and small hospitals must be prepared to care for these wounds in an effective and expeditious manner.
We have reviewed the clinical experiences at Mobile General Hospital in an effort to identify an "effective and expeditious manner."
The clinical material consists of 13 cases treated during the ten-year period from 1956 to 1966. Ten patients were treated surgically with 100% survival. Three patients were treated conservatively with one death. The overall survival rate was 93%. This apparent success in the management of these wounds should not be misleading. Delay in diagnosis and delay in definitive surgery after