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Free Content Wood smoke-associated lung disease: a clinical, functional, radiological and pathological description

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BACKGROUND: Approximately half of the world’s population, and up to 90% of households in rural areas of developing countries, depend on biomass for cooking and heating.

SETTING: The National Institute of Respiratory Diseases, México City.

OBJECTIVE: To describe wood smoke-associated lung disease (WSLD).

DESIGN: Description of the clinical, functional and radiological manifestations of patients with WSLD, and a comparison of pathological findings of patients who died of WSLD and smokers who died of chronic bronchitis.

RESULTS: All patients with WSLD were non-smoking women with chronic bronchitis, in whom asthma, bronchiectasis, tuberculosis, congestive heart failure, extreme obesity and alfa-1 antitrypsin deficiency had been excluded. All patients used wood for cooking and had been exposed to wood smoke for a median of 45 years. Dyspnoea, airway obstruction, air trapping, increased airway resistance, pathological evidence of anthracosis, chronic bronchitis, centrilobular emphysema and pulmonary hypertension were present in most patients with WSLD. Bronchial squamous metaplasia was a common finding. There were no significant differences in the histopathological findings between patients with WSLD and smokers. Diffuse interstitial fibrosis was absent in all patients.

CONCLUSIONS: Patients with WSLD have obstructive lung disease, chronic bronchitis, emphysema and pulmonary hypertension comparable to smokers.

Keywords: chronic bronchitis; lung disease; wood smoke

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Division of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada; Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Autonoma de San Luis Potosi, San Luis Potosi, Mexico 2: Instituto Nacional de Enfermedades Respiratorias, Mexico City, Mexico

Publication date: September 1, 2008

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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