Selective collapse is a term that the late Dr. Thompson and I first used to denote the behavior of involved parts of the lung under partial pneumothorax, spontaneous or artificial. Further study by physical signs, necropsy, and especially by stereoroentgenograms, showed the same behavior of inflamed or irritated regions of the lung in all cases of tuberculosis. It constitutes a general principle, the knowledge of which not only explains the action of partial pneumothorax, but is of value in the general treatment of tuberculosis.
The precise explanation has not been conclusively demonstrated. A few plausible theories are discussed in the article on selective collapse in our monograph.1 Sewall2 cites references to a discussion of the action of this principle in bronchial irritation and obstruction nearly a hundred years ago.
The principle of selective collapse is manifested in a series of phenomena that may be described thus: (a) If