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Foreword

Contents

Foreword

    The group of historical volumes now in preparation upon the activities of the United States Army Medical Department in World War II constitutes the third series of such works devoted to recording the formal history of that department under war conditions. The first such series, published over the years 1870-88, comprised six ponderous tomes, three of medicine and three of surgery, which appeared under the title Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion. The second, following World War I, embraced fifteen volumes published in seventeen parts (1921-29). This series was entitled History of the Medical Department of the United States Army in the World War. Two volumes of the seventeen dealt with surgical matters.

    The present treatise, Vascular Surgery, is among the first of the third series to receive publication. It will offer mute but convincing testimony to the vast progress recently recorded in the field whereof it treats. Not that vascular surgery, per se, is a new phenomenon. In its simplest form, ligation, it was practiced in the American Civil War on a great many more occasions than is generally known.Thus, in 672 recorded operations for wounds of the face alone, no less than 69 involved ligation of an artery or vein-the common carotid artery figuring in 55 of these. Based on cases whose dispositions were known, mortality for the entire series was 65 percent, for cases involving the common carotid about 72 percent, and but 6 of the 65 patients operated upon (3 of these, common carotid cases) were later able to return to duty.

    Despite the amount of space accorded other surgical specialties in our World War I medical history (e.g., 535 pages on neurosurgery in one of the surgical volumes), vascular surgery is there dismissed with a single paragraph. As a result, the meteoric expansion of activity in that field to the point where its adequate discussion in World War II records calls for an entire volume, becomes especially significant. Truly, vascular surgery has come of age.

GEORGE E. ARMSTRONG
Major General, United States Army
The Surgeon General