Department of Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, TEHRAN-IRAN.
Background: Numerous causes can lead to chronic inflammatory lesions of the lower respiratory airways including those recognized as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), of which tobacco smoke has been established. Air pollution and smokes from indoor and outdoor origins are among the possible causes. However, further investigations are required on this issue. Materials and Methods: Amongst those who underwent diagnostic bronchoscopy in the pulmonary endoscopy unit, Tehran University of Medical Sciences from April 1975 to March 2000, 102 patients revealed generalized chronic changes of the airways with significant anthracotic deposits. Their clinical manifestations, demographic data, radiological, biopsy and bronchial washing findings were evaluated and compared with a similar number of contemporary cases without anthracotic lesions but with a variety of established pathologies. Results: Clinically, the patients with anthracotic airway lesions were already respiratory cripples. Females (n=60) had been exposed to long-term indoor smoke inhalation while baking home-made bread. Males (n=42) had a variety of occupations that entailed heavy smokes. Those without bronchial anthracosis had no similar histories. Conclusion: Long-term smoke inhalation can cause chronic anthracotic bronchopathies leading to respiratory invalidism. The problem seems to be extensive and has not confined to Iran. Further worldwide studies are required to address different aspects, including prevention of these ailments. (Tanaffos 2009; 8(1): 14-22)