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Vascular Surgery in the Pacific Theaters of World War II

The Persistence of Ligation Amid Unique Military Medical Conditions

Barr, Justin, MD, PhD*; Cherry, Kenneth J., MD, FACS; Rich, Norman M., MD, FACS

doi: 10.1097/SLA.0000000000002849

Although multiple sources chronicle the practice of vascular surgery in the North African, Mediterranean, and European theaters of World War II, that of the Pacific campaign remains undescribed. Relying on primary source documents from the war, this article provides the first discussion of the management of vascular injuries in the island-hopping battles of the Pacific. It explains how the particular military, logistic, and geographic conditions of this theater influenced medical and surgical care, prompting a continued emphasis on ligation when surgeons in Europe had already transitioned to repairing arteries.

*Department of Surgery, Duke University, Durham, NC

Department of Surgery, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA

Department of Surgery, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD.

Reprints: Justin Barr, MD, PhD, Department of Surgery, Duke University, DUMC 3443, Durham, NC 27710. E-mail:

The study was supported by Josiah Charles Trent Memorial Foundation Grant and General and Mrs. Matthew B. Ridgeway Military History Research Grant.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

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