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Clinical Investigations: DIFFUSION |

Chronic and Acute Effects of “Crack” Cocaine on Diffusing Capacity, Membrane Diffusion, and Pulmonary Capillary Blood Volume in the Lung*

Eric C. Kleerup, MD, FCCP; Sankar N. Koyal, PhD; Jose A. Marques-Magallanes, MD; Michael D. Goldman, MD; Donald P. Tashkin, MD, FCCP
Author and Funding Information

*From the Department of Medicine (Drs. Kleerup, Marques-Magallanes, and Tashkin), David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA; and West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Medical Center (Drs. Koyal and Goldman), Los Angeles, CA.

Correspondence to: Eric Kleerup, MD, FCCP, Division of Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine at CHS 37–131, Box 951690, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1690;



Chest. 2002;122(2):629-638. doi:10.1378/chest.122.2.629
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Study objectives: To evaluate possible alterations in the diffusing capacity of the lung for carbon monoxide (Dlco) or its components, membrane diffusing capacity of the lung for carbon monoxide (Dmco) and pulmonary capillary blood volume (Vc), in habitual smokers of “crack” cocaine (with or without tobacco) and following the short-term administration of inhaled cocaine base or IV cocaine HCl.

Design: Cross-sectional and longitudinal evaluation of Dlco and its components in smokers of cocaine alone, tobacco alone, and cocaine plus tobacco, and in nonsmokers and ex-smokers. Measurement of possible acute effects on Dlco and its components after experimental short-term administration of IV and smoked cocaine.

Setting: University and Veterans Affairs hospital research laboratories.

Participants: Convenience sample of habitual smokers of crack cocaine with or without tobacco and matched control nonsmokers and ex-smokers, and smokers of tobacco only.

Measurements: Dlco, Dmco, and Vc.

Conclusions: Neither habitual cocaine smoking in cross-sectional or longitudinal analysis nor the short-term administration of inhaled alkaloidal cocaine significantly affected Dlco or its component parts. In contrast, a clear cross-sectional effect of regular tobacco smoking was demonstrated.

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