[Skip to Content]
Access to paid content on this site is currently suspended due to excessive activity being detected from your IP address Please contact the publisher to request reinstatement.
[Skip to Content Landing]
August 1960

Induced Sputum as a Diagnostic Technique for Cancer of the Lungs: And for Mobilization of Retained Secretions

Arch Intern Med. 1960;106(2):230-236. doi:10.1001/archinte.1960.03820020070010

Inadequate bronchial drainage is one of the principal defects encountered in the majority of disease states affecting the bronchopulmonary system. The retention of viscid mucus frequently provokes bronchospasm, ineffectual proxysms of coughing, and obstructive dyspnea. These menacing consequences of bronchial obstruction led us to design measures which facilitated elimination of retained secretions, including mechanically induced cough and inhalation of various types of aerosols.

Our interest in this problem has recently been applied to the development of techniques which not only promote expectoration but also provide sputum specimens for diagnostic study. The inhalation of a 20% propylene glycol solution in 10% sodium chloride at 100 F was shown to induce sputum in healthy individuals who had no cough. This procedure was employed in a preliminary study as a method for the early detection of lung cancer by cytological examination of the specimens thus obtained.1 The modified technique described below is