The vital capacity was defined by Hutchinson1 as the quantity of air a person is capable of expiring after the deepest possible inspiration. Although many thoracic diseases are known to diminish the vital capacity, in few, if any, is the reduction more striking than in pneumonia. The sudden fall of the vital capacity in pneumonia and the subsequent increase incident to uncomplicated convalescence are sufficiently uniform to be of diagnostic significance. The present paper, based on a study of thirty-two cases of pneumonia in the medical wards of the University Hospital, will deal with the diagnostic and prognostic aspects of the vital capacity in this disease.
Unfortunately, wide variations in the vital capacity are to be found in persons of the same weight and stature, so that as Arnett and Kornblum2 have pointed out, little assistance can be expected from this test in the early diagnosis of pulmonary
ARNETT JH. THE VITAL CAPACITY OF THE LUNGS IN PNEUMONIA. JAMA. 1925;85(13):966–968. doi:10.1001/jama.1925.02670130028008
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