AFTER operation changes in the quality and quantity of pulmonary secretion may have a profound effect upon respiratory function. While many of the pulmonary problems developing postoperatively are related to material retained in the trachea and bronchi, relatively few studies have been made of this material. The purpose of this report is to describe some of the characteristics of the secretions from postoperative patients as determined by chemical analysis.
Material and Methods
Specimens were obtained from patients admitted to the surgical pavilion services of The New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center during 1966 and 1967. Secretions suctioned through a tracheostomy with sterile catheters were pooled over an 8- to 12-hour period as a specimen. Seventy-five separate specimens obtained from 12 patients with tracheostomies were fractionated and analyzed as wet specimens. Five of these patients had elective tracheostomy in conjunction with a thoracic operation—pulmonary resection,3 esophagogastrectomy,1 and thymectomy.1