A disease that dates back to the days of Hippocrates1 is naturally responsible for the accumulation of a vast literature saturated with numerous contradictions as to its various aspects. It is for this reason that a review of lung abscesses leaves one with a great deal of confusion in regard to the whole subject and with a considerable degree of pessimism in regard to treatment in general, and medical treatment in particular.
It is my purpose in this paper, first, to show by the results obtained that the existing pessimism regarding expectant treatment of lung abscesses is unjustifiable; and, second, to encourage others to adopt, where possible, a conservative harmless medical regimen in preference to bronchoscopy, or surgical measures such as pneumothorax, incision and drainage, phrenicectomy, thoracoplasty, lobectomy or cautery pneumectomy.
This study is based on thirty-five cases of nontuberculous abscesses of all types, seen at St. Mary's Infirmary
SPECTOR HI. LUNG ABSCESSESA CLINICAL STUDY, WITH ESPECIAL EMPHASIS ON CONSERVATIVE TREATMENT. JAMA. 1930;95(11):789–794. doi:10.1001/jama.1930.02720110025008