Osteoporosis among Asthmatic Patients Exposed to Mustard Gas Compared with Non-Exposed Asthmatics


1 Department of Pulmonary Medicine,

2 Department of Rheumatology, Loghman Hakim Hospital,

3 Department of Pulmonary Medicine

4 Department of Pulmonary Medicine, NRITLD, Shaheed Beheshti University of Medical Sciences and Health Services, TEHRAN-IRAN.


Background: Chemical warfare victims with history of exposure to sulfur mustard gas comprise a considerable number of our young asthmatic population. They are at risk of adverse effects of the gas including asthma; diffuse pulmonary fibrosis, chemical bronchitis, skin lesions and ophthalmic complications, with a great part of their treatment depending on corticosteroid compounds. Objective: To evaluate the rate of osteoporosis in a group of asthmatic victims of sulfur mustard gas and to compare it with non-chemical asthmatic patients, in order to determine the distribution, site of involvement, intensity of effects, and difference with the non-exposed group. Materials and Methods: In this prospective study, 100 asthmatic male patients who had a history of exposure to sulfur mustard gas were selected according to inclusion and exclusion criteria, and matched with 100 non-chemical asthmatic male patients in regard to age, duration of disease, duration of corticosteroid therapy, and the form of therapy. Bone Mineral Density (BMD) test was performed on hip and lumbar vertebrae of case and control groups according to WHO criteria. Independent- samples T test was used to analyze the results. Results: There was a significant difference (p<0.05) between the two groups in the range of osteoporosis and osteopenia. No significant correlation was found between age and complications. Most changes (65%) were observed in the vertebral column, and hip involvement (%5) was much more severe in the case group. Conclusion: Considering the morbidities caused by this chemical warfare agent, the osteoporotic complications in chemical warfare victims can intensify their disabilities. Therefore, preventive measures must be undertaken to reduce complications. (Tanaffos 2004; 3(10): 7-11)