No part of medical practice is more difficult than accurate prognosis. Yet to the patient the outlook for length of life and degree of disability is of greater interest than the technicalities of diagnosis or the details of treatment. Heart disease of any kind offers special difficulties in prognosis, and among the different etiologic types of heart disease the problem is greatest among the arteriosclerotic. Not infrequently the physician is called urgently to the bedside of a patient dying suddenly of coronary occlusion and is told by the widow that only a week or a month before a physician had examined the patient and had found no heart trouble or had said that there was "nothing serious." It is still more embarrassing beside the death bed if the same physician has given the optimistic prognosis a week or a month previously.
Since prognosis is merely quantitative diagnosis, rational treatment depends