Postoperative gangrene of the lung in a patient who is not afflicted with chronic pulmonary disease is almost invariably due to aspiration in the course of an operation done under general anesthesia. In some instances an infected thrombus thrown into the lung as an embolus may be responsible for it.
Aspirated material is either blood with mucus or pus, in operations in the mouth, nose or nasopharynx, tonsillectomy, etc., or stomach content. In the latter case it is due to vomiting during the surgeon's work, or after the completion of the operation while the patient is being returned to his bed, still under the influence of the anesthetic, or in bed as a result of inattention or improper handling by the attending nurse. The clinical pathologic sequelae are determined by the area within the lung where aspiration takes place, whether more centrally or peripherally located, the degree of virulence and