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Inhalation of a vapor obtained by oxygen bubbling through 50% ethyl alcohol-water solution is being used for the treatment of pulmonary edema that has resisted all other forms of therapy. In pulmonary edema there is a transudation of blood elements through altered alveolar capillary walls into the alveoli, and this fluid is churned into a froth by the respiratory activity. The proponents of alcohol vapor inhalation in the treatment of pulmonary edema believe that there is an alteration of the surface tension in the alveoli producing a collapse of the foam bubbles and that the alcohol vapor penetrates into the finer air spaces.
The oxygen is delivered from a cylinder through a simple vaporizer consisting of a 250 cc. bottle half filled with 50% ethyl alcohol-water solution, with a rubber stopper holding two large-bore metal tubes. One tube reaches to the bottom of the bottle and delivers the oxygen, which
TREATMENT OF PULMONARY EDEMA. JAMA. 1954;154(1):62. doi:10.1001/jama.1954.02940350064019