Chronic obstructive pulmonary emphysema is common at the Veterans Administration Hospital, Coral Gables, Fla, and patients with acute myocardial infarctions are admitted with almost epidemic frequency. Yet, despite the ubiquity of both these conditions, they appeared to coexist infrequently. To ascertain whether this clinical impression could be verified, a review of this hospital's experience with these problems was undertaken and serves as the subject of this report. In order to document with certainty the presence of myocardial infarction, only autopsied cases were selected for study.
Cornfield1 and Mainland2 have called attention to the statistical pitfalls encountered in using autopsy material to determine relationships between two potentially fatal diseases. However, while they suggest caution in accepting such relationships on the basis of autopsy study alone, their argument does not refute the possibility that such relationships may exist. They argue that these findings, to have validity, must be confirmed in
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