Definition of Vanishing lung syndrome

Vanishing lung syndrome: A radiological syndrome in which the lungs appear to be disappearing on X-ray. The syndrome is characterized by a progressive decrease in the radiographic opacity of the lung. Causes include the accelerated progression of emphysema destroying the lung or the rapid cystic destruction of the lung by infection. A book of poems entitled "Vanishing Lung Syndrome" was published by Miroslav Holub (1923-98), the Czech immunologist, physician, writer and poet. The title poem about the vanishing lung syndrome reads in part as follows:

"scintigraphy shows
a disappearance of perfusion, and angiography
shows remnants of arterial branches
without the capillary phase.
Inside there may be growing
an abandoned room."
Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012

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