It is generally considered that pulmonary complications occur less frequently in orthopedic surgery than in surgery of the abdomen or the pelvis. Apart from the well recognized frequency of hypostatic pneumonia occuring in elderly people with fractures, such as of the hip, little mention is made in the literature of pulmonary complications in orthopedic cases.
Within the past decade, numerous investigators have called attention to the high frequency of postoperative pulmonary complications occurring chiefly in general surgery and in gynecologic surgery. Furthermore, these investigators, notably Hampton and Wharton,1 Boland,2 Cutler and Morton,3 de Quervain,4 Farr and Spiegel,5 and others, are in accord that a high percentage of these postoperative pulmonary complications are the result of pulmonary embolism. Wharton and Pierson6 state that embolism, in its various forms, is the cause of fully 50 per cent of the noteworthy pulmonary complications that occur after gynecologic