Medicine: Walking During Surgery

If a patient could be kept walking around during major surgery, instead of lying still, he would have a better chance of surviving. Reason: the commonest cause of death after operations is pulmonary embolism—blockage in an artery leading from the heart to the lungs, by a blood clot formed elsewhere in the body. One of the commonest places for such a life-threatening clot to form: the legs, because the blood "pools" there during inactivity. Two Canadian surgeons now suggest an ingenious way of keeping the patient's leg muscles and veins working about as energetically as though he were walking around, even...

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