Sixty-four patients with various chest diseases were divided on clinical grounds into those suffering from asthma, chronic bronchitis, and chronic bronchitis with heart failure and those with damage to the lung parenchyma. A 24-hour specimen of sputum was collected from each patient and the electrolyte, protein, and carbohydrate composition was determined on the sol phase which was separated by ultracentrifugation. High variance was encountered in all the results and no difference in average pH and ionic concentration was found between the four groups. The average sol phase carbohydrate concentration and the average proportion of albumin in the sol phase high-molecular-weight substances differed between the groups and appeared to be related to the diagnosis of asthma and bronchitis. We think that the proportion of albumin in sputum sol phase high-molecular-weight substances might hold promise as a criterion for distinguishing between asthma and chronic bronchitis.
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