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July 7, 1951


JAMA. 1951;146(10):931. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.03670100051019

The usefulness of ethyl alcohol in the treatment of paroxysmal pulmonary edema in rabbits and dogs has recently been demonstrated by Luisada.1 Working on the theory that the respiratory obstruction occurring in pulmonary edema is due chiefly to the foaming of the fluid present rather than to its volume per se, this investigator tested the effects of a number of antifoaming agents administered by inhalation to animals with experimental pulmonary edema. Of the agents used, 95% alcohol in subanesthetic doses produced the most satisfactory results. It doubled the survival time of rabbits with pulmonary edema produced by intravenously administered epinephrine and completely prevented pulmonary edema in dogs subjected to rapid intracarotid infusion with isotonic sodium chloride solution. This effect was thought to be due to the local antifoaming action of alcohol, but it was subsequently observed that larger, mildly anesthetic doses of 50% alcohol given by gavage or enema