Rhode Island Hospital studies chronic effects of smoke inhalation

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Researchers at Rhode Island Hospital have studied the chronic effects of smoke inhalation by examining the lungs of 21 survivors of the February, 2003, fire at The Station, a West Warwick, R.I. nightclub. The study showed variability in the chronic effects, and noted that the most severely impacted were non-smokers.
The study, led by Gerald Abbott, MD, director of chest radiology at Rhode Island Hospital, used volumetric high resolution computed tomography (HRCT) performed 35 to 48 months after the fire. The study also included a control group of 10 healthy individuals not involved with the fire. The chronic effects variables ranged from no detectable effects to a significant increase in air-trapping, an abnormal retention of air in the lungs following expiration.
The hope is that the findings will be useful in treating future victims of smoke inhalation as early treatment efforts could be tailored according to their cigarette smoking history.
The Station nightclub fire was one of the largest in U.S. history, killing 100 people and injuring over 200.