In a study of school-age children who were survivors of bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), the chronic lung disease of prematurity, researchers uncovered long-term airflow limitation as demonstrated by impaired lung function test results, while at the same time finding low levels of a marker of pulmonary cellular dysfunction, exhaled nitric oxide. The investigators studied 31 school-age survivors of BPD, comparing their test results with 31 patients with asthma, 31 preterm children without BPD, and 31 healthy control children born at term. (BPD was first described in premature neonates in neonatal intensive care units who survived respiratory distress syndrome after suffering chronic lung injury induced by mechanical ventilation and exposure to high oxygen concentrations.) According to the researchers, the children with BPD in the study had significantly lower exhaled nitric oxide levels than did either the healthy control subjects or the preterm children without BPD. For their individual lung function test values, 9 of the subjects with BPD had results that were 70 percent or less of the normal predicted value. The children with asthma had a similar degree of airflow limitation. The authors said that although BPD survivors and those with asthma share some clinical and functional features, the remarkable difference in exhaled nitric oxide values suggests that airflow limitation in the two obstructive lung diseases is related to distinctive individual pathophysiologic pathways that ought to be properly identified. Unfortunately, to date, studies on the problem beyond infancy are lacking. The research appears in the first issue for January 2005 of the American Thoracic Society's peer-reviewed American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
BERYLLIUM SENSITIZATION PROGRESSES TO CHRONIC BERYLLIUM DISEASE