"Emphysema," the pathologist said, "may be defined as a group of diseases characterized by enlarged pulmonary air spaces and distal terminal bronchioles with destruction of their walls."
His fellow panelists at a special symposium at the AMA's annual meeting indicated agreement. Unanimity ended there.
Although the fastest-increasing cause of death in the US, disagreement still prevails about pulmonary emphysema's etiology, detection, and treatment. But, as panel chairman Herman J. Moersch, MD, noted, this variance reflects the intensive research underway to close gaps in knowledge.
Here are a few of the comments made by panelists taking part in the joint meeting of the Sections on Diseases of the Chest, Anesthesiology, Radiology, Preventive Medicine and the American College of Chest Physicians.
Airway obstruction is probably the most common precipitating factor of emphysema, said Reginald H. Smart, MD, Los Angeles.The basic causation, be it singular or plural, is not established.