Background: Blast injury to the lung is one of the
devastating threats facing victims of an explosion. Although the
pathogenesis of blast injury has been studied, little is known about
the long-term effects on lung function in survivors.
Objective: To examine the pulmonary function of survivors 1
year after sustaining a blast injury.
Setting: Pulmonary function test
laboratory at Hadassah Medical Center, Jerusalem.
Participants: Eleven surviving victims of a blast injury
sustained during a bus terrorist explosion.
Measurements: Twelve months after the injury, physical
examinations, lung function tests, and progressive cardiopulmonary
exercise examinations were conducted, and chest radiographs were
Results: The average age was 28 ± 9.8
years. Most of the victims had multiple injuries in addition to the
lung injury. Ten patients received mechanical ventilation, and 6
patients required chest drainage. All patients were treated in the ICU,
with an average stay of 11.8 ± 9 days. The patients were discharged
to their homes or to a rehabilitation center 32.4 ± 27.3 days after
the explosion. One year later, none had any pulmonary-related
complaints. Physical examination of the lungs was normal. Most of the
patients demonstrated normal lung function tests and complete
resolution of the chest radiograph findings.
Conclusion: Most patients who survive lung blast injury
will regain good lung function within a year.