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Unpredictable Survival In Coronary Artery Disease

Harold Feil, MD
JAMA. 1966;196(1):106. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100140160056.
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To the Editor:—  In a recent editorial (195:860, 1966), "Elusive Errors in Coronary Statistics" are emphasized. I am in hearty agreement with the thesis, but I would like to emphasize the unpredictability of survival in the individual case of coronary artery disease. The survival period after the onset of angina or the development of infarction is from 0 to 30 or 40 years. Modifying factors such as shock, arrhythmias, heart failure, persistence of pain, diabetes, or generalized arteriosclerosis, help in arriving at a tentative prognosis. If the patient survives the initial illness he has a fairly definite chance of surviving from year to year and the longer is the more likely subsequent course. In fact in a recent personal study of 1,516 cases of infarction, the survival rate of patients who recovered from the first infarction was 90% for the first year and in subsequent years it was 85%


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