In Reply.—The purpose of our article was not to compare the incidence of gastrointestinal complications after cardiac surgery in our group with that of any control group, but rather to increase the surgeon's awareness of such complications and to discuss possible pathophysiologic causes.
The patient who was excluded from the study experienced multiple organ failure and, in effect, died on the operating table. Her agonal condition was prolonged by life-support systems for four days.
Pathologic examination was performed on all tissues removed from these patients, but only three specimens revealed a localized area of necrosis surrounded by normal tissue. The remainder of the specimens demonstrated diffuse necrosis throughout the tissue sample.