Massive (atelectatic) collapse of the lung has been well defined by Sir John Rose Bradford1 as "an unusual condition in which the lung, without the presence of any gross lesion such as bronchial obstruction, pleural effusion, etc., interfering with the free entry of air becomes airless to a greater or less degree."
The condition was first reported in 1890 by Pasteur 2 in connection with postdiphtheritic paralysis of the diaphragm. His observations were based on thirty-four such cases, and he was the first to apply the name "massive collapse of the lung." In 1908, in the Bradshaw Lecture, he again discussed the nature of massive collapse of the lung, in contrast with the scattered lobular atelectasis that follows obstruction of the bronchioles by secretion or foreign material. In 1914, he extended his studies of the condition and called attention to its occurrence as a postoperative complication of abdominal operations.
SANTE LR. MASSIVE (ATELECTATIC) COLLAPSE OF THE LUNG, WITH ESPECIAL REFERENCE TO TREATMENT: REPORT OF AN ADDITIONAL CASE. JAMA. 1927;88(20):1539–1542. doi:10.1001/jama.1927.02680460009001
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