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December 21, 1940


Author Affiliations


From the Department of Pathology, the University of Chicago.

JAMA. 1940;115(25):2176-2179. doi:10.1001/jama.1940.72810510009014

It is now fifteen years since Laughlen1 called attention to a type of pneumonia caused by the aspiration into the lungs of oily medicaments administered either intranasally or by mouth. Of the several names which have been applied to the condition, such as lipoid pneumonia, lipid pneumonia, fat pneumonia, steatosis of the lungs, pneumonoliposis, lipoid cell pneumonia, paraffin pneumonia, oil pneumonia and oil aspiration pneumonia, "lipid pneumonia," suggested recently by Graef,2 seems to be the most appropriate. Although many phases of the subject have been clarified3 in the twenty-two or more papers which have been published in this country alone, the fact that so many unsuspected cases continue to be discovered at necropsy suggests that many persons, including physicians, are still unfamiliar with the conditions leading to its development.

The pneumonia varies greatly in severity, depending on the kinds and amounts of lipids aspirated. Some oils are