Autodrownage is the name given by the author to the

drowning of the patient in his own secretions. Tracheobronchial

secretions in excess of the amount required to moisten the inspired

air, become, in certain cases, a mechanical menace to life, unless

removed. The cough reflex, forced expiration, and ciliary action,

normally remove the excess. When these mechanisms are impaired, as in

profound asthenia, laryngeal paralysis, laryngeal or tracheal

stenosis, etc.; and especially when in addition to a mild degree of

glottic stenosis or impaired laryngeal mobility, the secretions become

excessive, the accumulation may literally drown the patient in his own

secretions. This is illustrated frequently in influenza and arachidic

bronchitis. Infants cannot expectorate, and their cough reflex is

exceedingly ineffective in raising secretion to the pharynx;

furthermore they are easily exhausted by bechic efforts; so that age

may be cited as one of the most frequent etiologic factors in the

condition of autodrownage. Bronchoscopic sponge-pumping (q.v.) and

bronchoscopic aspiration are quite efficient and can save any patient

not afflicted with conditions that are fatal by other pathologic


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