Apossible fatal aftermath of pneumonectomy, sometimes unrecognized but perhaps preventable, was described at the annual meeting in Denver of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons.
It is thrombus formation in the pulmonary artery stump with repeated embolization to the remaining lung.
Two such cases, both of which ended in death, were reported by Theodore H. Chuang, MD, chief, Department of Surgery, San Antonio State Tuberculosis Hospital, Texas. In each case, autopsy confirmed emboli and pulmonary infarcts of varying maturity, and no other site of venous thrombosis was found.
Dr. Chuang, however, found little mention of such complication in the surgical literature. So he conducted a survey which brought replies from 332 thoracic surgeons in the United States and abroad. They reported a total of 64 similar cases, only two of which had been reported in the literature.
"Thus, the true frequency of this clinical entity is not known," Dr. Chuang said,