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Salvage From Myocardial Infarction

Philip I. Hershberg, MD
JAMA. 1968;205(12):884-885. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140380088030.
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To the Editor:—  In a recent editorial (203:356, 1968), it was indicated that the incidence of complete heart block in acute myocardial infarction ranges from 3 to 6% of all cases. It was also noted that several investigators report salvage rates as high as 10% of these patients, with the conclusion that similar salvage among all cases of postinfarction complete heart block could result in "the saving of 10,000 to 15,000 lives annually."The per annum total mortality from acute myocardial infarction in this country is generally accepted as about 500,000 individuals. Since it is known that 60% to 75% of all myocardial infarction deaths occur before the patient is admitted to the hospital1 and also that the inhospital death rate from transmural myocardial infarction is about 25%,2 then the mortality from significant, ie, transmural, myocardial infarction is about 50%.3 This would indicate that the total


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