A recent article in one of the more prestigious pulmonary journals describes a condition called “excessive dynamic airway collapse” or EDAC. This particular condition occurs when the elastic integrity of the back wall of the trachea weakens, and when coughing or deep breathing the airway briefly closes, making it hard for the patient to clear secretions and promoting more cough and infections.
The treatment for this condition is still evolving with little, if any, medical treatment available and some surgical procedures offering some hope in the most severe cases.
The reason I bring up this problem today is a personal one. While in training in Philadelphia many years ago fiberoptic bronchoscopy was a new technique. Prior to this innovation, bronchoscopy was performed with a rigid metal tube. The ability to explore the tracheobronchial tree with the fiberoptic instrument was exceptional and observations could be made visually that were rarely, if ever, noted.
As a young physician and new fiberoptic bronchoscopist, I recognized the phenomenon we now call EDAC, but at the time no one seemed to care. In my reports there was no name for me to use for the finding, and I joked that I would call it Zlupko’s Disease.
Many years have gone by and I could have gone down in medical history with a disease named after me. In the words of the washed-up boxer turned longshoreman, Terry Malloy played by Marlon Brando in the movie ON THE WATERFRONT, “I coulda been a contender!”