Definite respiratory obstruction without laryngeal symptoms is uncommon. When it occurs, one should bear in mind a possible primary diphtheria of the trachea or bronchi. In this paper we shall consider only this condition and not a diphtheria extending from the larynx downward, which is fairly common.
Lynah1 was probably the first to call attention to a primary diphtheria of the tracheobronchial tree. In a convincing fashion and with an abundance of clinical material, he demonstrated by endoscopy and postmortem examination that the pathologic process may begin in either the trachea or the bronchi, and that it may extend up or down the respiratory tract. Our analysis of thirty-nine of his reported cases showed an absence of gross diphtheritic disease in the pharynx or larynx in eighteen.
Other contributions on the subject have been few. (Much has been written on laryngeal diphtheria and secondary extensions to the tracheobronchial tree.
HART VK, PEELER CN. PRIMARY TRACHEOBRONCHIAL DIPHTHERIA. Arch Otolaryngol. 1931;13(5):714–716. doi:10.1001/archotol.1931.03660020078006
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