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A Pathological Study of Unsuccessful Cardiac Resuscitation

Walter G. Wolfe, MD; Alden W. Dudley Jr., MD; Andrew G. Wallace, MD
Arch Surg. 1968;96(1):123-126. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1968.01330190125028.
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CLOSED-CHEST cardiac massage has been used successfully to resuscitate patients since 1960, when the method was introduced by Kouwenhoven et al.1 Because the technique is easily accomplished, anyone in medicine or allied fields can learn to do this emergency procedure. Closed cardiac massage, like open massage, is not without complications. Those reported have included separation of the costochondral junction, fractured ribs, laceration of the inferior vena cava, and lungs with hemothorax and pneumothorax as well as laceration of the aorta, spleen, liver, stomach, and colon.26

The purpose of this communication is to report the pathological findings following unsuccessful cardiac resuscitation and to add to the list of complications rupture of the heart.

Report of a Case  A 69-year-old woman was admitted for evaluation and treatment of severe and progressive congestive heart failure. Seven years previously a by-pass Dacron prosthesis had been inserted from the left femoral to popliteal


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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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