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A Journal on Diseases of the Respiratory System


Official Journal of the Italian Society of Thoracic Endoscopy
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Minerva Pneumologica 2007 September;46(3):157-66

language: English

Pulmonary function in adolescents living in an outdoor environmental air polluted area and in a mountain area

Longhini E. 1, Fanari P. 1, Fontana M. 1, Giacomotti E. 1, Codecasa F. 1, Pacetti M. 2, Cherubini P. 2, Barlera S. 3, Tognoni G. 3, Salvadori A. 1

1 Laboratory of Respiratory Pathophysiology Istituto Auxologico Italiano Ospedale San Giuseppe, Verbania, Italy
2 “D. e G. Campari” Medical Division Ospedale Citta Sesto San Giovanni Sesto San Giovanni, Italy
3 Istituto Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri Milan, Italy


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Aim. Human activity generates mixtures of pollutants and outdoor air pollution has been known to cause clinically significant adverse effects.
Methods. We studied the possibility of associations among long-term exposure to environmental air pollution and respiratory symptoms, and pulmonary function and atopy in a cross-sectional study. The target population was a sample of 744 adolescents living in an industrialised town and a sample of 287 adolescents living in mountain valleys in the Alps. Notes on respiratory symptoms were obtained from a questionnaire; all the subjects performed a lung function test, skin tests and plasma levels IgE determinations (PRIST).
Results. Significant lower values of forced vital capacity (FVC) and even lower values of forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1), of FEV1/FVC and of maximal expiratory flow at 25% of FVC (MEF 25%) were detected in the metropolitan population. The tests resulted pathological in a significantly higher number of clinical silent subjects of this group. About atopy, high plasma IgE levels were significantly more frequent in the metropolitan group, while PRICK tests more frequent in the mountain group.
Conclusion. This study seems to provide evidence that long-term exposure to air pollution in adolescents may be associated with lower lung volumes, and especially expiratory flows. The lack of a concordance between anamnestic respiratory symptoms from questionnaires and pulmonary functions may point out the suitability for periodical controls of them in young subjects of air polluted areas.

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