Occupational Asthma Reference

Montaguea TJ, Macneil AR, Mass Ammonia Inhalation, Chest, 1980;77:496-498,DOI: https://doi.org/10.1378/chest.77.4.496

Keywords: acute lung injury, ammonia, seaman, prognosis

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The clinical, roentgenographic and laboratory findings, their relationship to each other and to the subsequent hospital course are reported for 14 victims of gaseous ammonia inhalation. Initial physical examination enabled differentiation of a mildly affected from a moderately affected group, but patients in both groups responded well to conservative medical management.

Ammonia is an extremely noxious gas when inhaled and exposure to it, usually in the setting of an industrial accident, has long been recognized as a cause of both acute and chronic respiratory disease. None of the previous case reports, however, provide data which allow correlation of the clinical, roentgenographic, and blood gas findings with the subsequent course. Recently, we have managed 14 patients accidentally exposed to large concentrations of gaseous ammonia. The purpose of this report is to provide a correlative summary of their presentation and hospital course. In particular, analysis of the data reveals that physical examination of the chest in the first 24 hours postexposure allows the best prediction of subsequent hospital course.

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