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February 23, 1957


JAMA. 1957;163(8):630-633. doi:10.1001/jama.1957.02970430020007

• The presence of frothy edema fluid in the alveoli of the lung hinders the diffusion of oxygen upon which the cells of the respiratory epithelium normally depend for their own oxygenation. This sets up a vicious circle, because the anoxic epithelium becomes more permeable and so permits further passage of fluid. The possibility of breaking this vicious circle by using antifoam agents was studied in rabbits after inducing pulmonary edema by intravenously injected epinephrine. Various antifoam agents were administered in a special chamber containing the experimental animals. Of the six agents tried, the most effective was a mixture containing a silicone and a polyhydric alcohol; it compared favorably witht 95% ethyl alcohol in animals. It was therefore administered to eight patients with pulmonary edema by inhalation, with the aid of a respiratory apparatus affording intermittent positive pressure.