Viscid respiratory secretions unquestionably exert considerable adverse influence on the normal mechanism of bronchial cleansing. Indeed the virulence potentiating ability of sticky sputum, and specifically mucin, has been demonstrated by many investigators.1 For many years crude preparations of trypsin have been used for the lysis of sputum prior to examination for acid-fast organisms.2 In view of the laboratory and clinical studies of Reiser and associates3 on the use of trypsin as a lytic agent in tuberculous empyema and other lesions, the present study was undertaken to determine the suitability of crystalline trypsin (tryptar®) for lysis of tenacious sputum within the tracheobronchial tree.
PRELIMINARY LABORATORY STUDIES
In vitro 50,000 units of crystalline trypsin produces a dramatically rapid liquefaction in 25 cc. samples of thick sputum obtained from patients with active pulmonary tuberculosis. The lysis is reflected by the decline in the sputum viscosity measured by a method devised
Limber CR, Reiser HG, Roettig LC, Curtis GM. ENZYMATIC LYSIS OF RESPIRATORY SECRETIONS BY AEROSOL TRYPSIN. JAMA. 1952;149(9):816–821. doi:10.1001/jama.1952.02930260018006
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