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Carotid-Body Removal in Asthma

Gerald Marschke, MD; Gildon N. Beall, MD; W. Eugene Stern, MD; John F. Murray, MD
JAMA. 1965;191(5):397. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080050043012.
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Asthma is often an intractable and disabling disease; yet, by definition it can be relieved either spontaneously or therapeutically. Unfortunately, available therapeutic procedures have not always been successful in reversing the disease, and a continuous series of new treatments has been proposed. A surgical treatment for asthma, removal of the carotid body or glomus, was described by Nakayama in 1961.1 In his study of 4,000 patients with asthma, approximately 80% were cured or improved six months after surgery and 58% allegedly maintained good results after five years. Overholt reported that slightly over half of 71 patients who had carotid glomectomies were improved.2

Because asthma is a chronic disease with undulations in severity which are influenced by environmental and emotional factors as well as medical and surgical therapy, it is difficult to isolate the effect of one particular form of treatment unless adequate controls are used. This study was


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