PURPOSE: Burn inhalation has negative effects on pulmonary function and may result in whole airways (damage or dysfunction). The consequences of methane explosion are thermal injury of respiratory tract, shock wave and carbon monoxide intoxication. The aim of this study was to determine changes in the pulmonary function tests (PFTs) after six years of follow up in miners who survived methane explosion.
METHODS: Two groups were examined: 41 miners who were victims of a methane explosion with documented thermal injury of respiratory tract and 25 healthy miners who served as controls. Pulmonary function studies were repeated after six months and six years in 33 study subjects and in 16 controls. Measurements: The study included static and dynamic lung volumes and diffusing capacity for carbon monoxide (DLco).
RESULTS: Mean values of Pulmonary Function Tests were within normal range in both examined groups six months and six years after the injury. A significant decrease of DL co was observed in the victims (98.4% vs 85.4) after six yrs of observations, but not in the control group. In controls we observed significant decrease in FEV1 (96.4% vs 83.4) –over six years.
CONCLUSION: Reduction of diffusing capacity can be associated with thermal lung injury. This phenomenon has an impact on the process of gas exchange and may be one of the reasons for breathing discomfort emergence in these patients. The significant decrease of flow rates in controls is more likely due to smoking and heavy pollution of working environment.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: This data suggests that all pulmonary function tests may have role in determining status of patients with respiratory system burn in long term of observations.
DISCLOSURE: Andrzej Krzywiecki, No Financial Disclosure Information; No Product/Research Disclosure Information