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Myocardial Infarction following Surgical Operations

Br Med J 1968; 4 doi: (Published 21 December 1968) Cite this as: Br Med J 1968;4:725
  1. Peter R. Hunter,
  2. Peter Endrey-Walder,
  3. Gaston E. Bauer,
  4. Frederick O. Stephens


    One hundred and forty-one randomly selected surgical patients, aged 35 years or over, were studied preoperatively, followed through their operative procedures, and reassessed during the first post-operative week for evidence of myocardial ischaemia associated with surgical operations under general anaesthesia. Of these patients 38% were found to have preoperative clinical evidence of heart disease, hypertension, or diabetes; 45% had abnormal preoperative E.C.G. patterns.

    Three patients experienced myocardial infarction during or within 36 hours of operation, all of the occult type; all were in the preoperative abnormal groups. Non-specific postoperative E.C.G. changes were equally common in the groups of patients with normal or abnormal preoperative electrocardiograms.

    A relationship existed between a rise in serum lactic dehydrogenase (L.D.H.) concentration and the field of the operation, but the diagnosis of infarction was not confused provided serum L.D.H. isoenzyme patterns and a rise in serum aspartate aminotransferase (S.G.O.T.) levels were consistent with the diagnosis.