Review Article| Volume 57, ISSUE 6, P787-790, June 1965

Gunshot wounds of the heart: A review of 31 cases

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      During the 12 year period from 1951 to 1963, 31 patients sustaining gunshot wounds of the heart were alive on admission to the Jefferson Davis Hospital. Twenty patients survived, an over-all mortality rate of 35.5 percent. Seventeen patients required cardiorrhaphy with 10 deaths, a total operative mortality rate of 59 percent. Eight patients were operated upon following perliminary pericardicentesis with only two deaths or an operative mortality rate of only 25 percent. Eleven patients treated primarily by pericardicentesis did not require surgery, and only one of them died. Specific therapy was unnecessary in 3 patients all of whom survived. Among 19 patients receiving pericardicentesis as either definitive treatment or in preparation for operation, there were only 3 deaths, a mortality rate of 15 percent. It would appear from these findings that pericardicentesis should be employed as the primary method of managing gunshot wounds of the heart.
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