Surgery: The Bleeding Gullet

"The Sengstaken tube was removed from the esophagus today at noon, and . . . there is no evidence of recurrent bleeding." The surgical jargon in the report on General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, by distinguished doctors at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, covered not only what had ailed the patient but also an ingenious device to relieve the trouble.

When circulation through the liver is blocked by disease, the blood backs up into the veins lining the gullet (esophagus) and sometimes the stomach as well. The swollen, twisted veins are called varices. Their thin walls are prone...

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