To the Editor:

—The title “Cardiogenic failure after isolated neurologic injury: a report of two cases” by Pousman and Parmley 1caused this aging reader some anguish, realizing how slippery hath become our lexicon. Many years ago I learned about “cardiogenic shock,” which I took to mean a state of diminished tissue perfusion and oxygenation caused by a gravely diminished output from the heart. I also learned about “cardiac failure,” which I took to mean a faltering of the function of the organ that pumps blood. In all my years of reading Anesthesiology , however, I somehow missed learning about “cardiogenic failure.” As I tried to understand this term, I found it so nonspecific as to be meaningless. “Failure” of WHAT? At face value, the term seems to mean failure of the creation of the heart itself!

Would “renogenic failure” ring true? Of course not—the term is “renal failure.” Why must we continually aggrandize our verbiage when there are perfect old  words to convey our meaning, no matter how old fashioned they might sound?

Pousman RM, Parmley CL: Cardiogenic failure after isolated neurologic injury: A report of two cases. A nesthesiology 1999; 91:1165–6