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Excerpts from a Clinical Report and Autopsy by Professor Traube on a Patient with Lung Disease caused by Coal Dust (1860)

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VI. Finally, one may note the similarity of the condition presented by the lungs in this case with the condition described by various authors under the name “black pulmonary edema.” If memory serves me right, I myself have seen about three cases of the affection. In all of them, not only was the parenchyma uniformly black in color, but the liquid that flowed from its transverse section was also colored black, from which one must conclude that the coloring particles in this case, as well, were, at least in part, only loosely contained in the pulmonary alveoli. It is possible, then, that the “black pulmonary edema” is also caused by the congestion of the pulmonary alveoli with coal particles.

The following should be noted with regard to the attached illustrations: 1) they contain only the forms of the coal particles in the sputum, from the lung, and from the dust of the obtained coal that seemed most characteristic vis-à-vis the usual black pigment; 2) several of the particles depicted on Plate 1 (as Fig. a and b) and Plate III (as Fig. a, b, c) presented a reddish-brown instead of a black color.

Source: “Ueber das Eindringen feiner Kohlentheilchen in das Innere des Respirationsapparates. Von Professor Traube.” Deutsche Klinik, vol. 12, no. 50 (1860), pp. 487-90 (conclusion of no. 49).

Translation: Thomas Dunlap

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