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Much of the literature of the diseases of the thymus gland is devoted to theoretical arguments as to the cause of "thymus death" (thymustod). A child dies suddenly with more or less stridor and cyanosis, and nothing pathologic but an enlarged gland is found at autopsy. The gland, however, does not seem to press on the trachea. The authors then speculate on theories as to pressure on the pneumogastric, pressure on the pulmonary artery, "hyperthymization of the blood," irritation of the large vessels and nerves by the friction of the to-and-fro movements of respiration, paralysis of the vasoconstrictors, status lymphaticus, etc. Theoretic arguments and anatomic demonstrations are brought forward to show the softness of the gland and the relative incompressibility of the trachea.
It has been my privilege, with the aid of the bronchoscope, to demonstrate beyond all doubt on the living patient the purely mechanical nature of "thymic asthma"
JACKSON C. THYMIC TRACHEOSTENOSIS, TRACHEOSCOPY, THYMECTOMY, CURE.. JAMA. 1907;XLVIII(21):1753–1756. doi:10.1001/jama.1907.25220470021001i