Navigation Links
Some Iraq War Vets Suffer Breathing Problems
Date:5/21/2008

Many cases linked to sulfur mine fire near Mosul in 2003

WEDNESDAY, May 21 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. soldiers exposed to a blazing sulfur mine fire near Mosul, Iraq, in 2003 returned home with a debilitating breathing disorder that affects the small airways of the lung.

But doctors were only able to diagnose the condition, bronchiolitis, with a lung biopsy. Conventional, non-invasive tests weren't able to reliably identify the problem, said the authors of a study expected to be presented Wednesday at the American Thoracic Society's International Conference, in Toronto.

"In my view, if someone returns from service in Iraq and is short of breath, and we don't have an explanation, this needs to be considered," said Dr. Robert Miller, senior author of the study and assistant professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tenn. "The other thing is that routine screening probably is ineffective in this case."

Knowing this should also help returning soldiers receive needed medical benefits. "It's important to make this diagnosis by biopsy, because it is the only way soldiers can get any type of disability," Miller said.

The sulfur mine fire near Mosul set off the largest man-made release of sulfur dioxide in history, 100 times greater than that from the eruption of Mount Saint Helens in Washington state in 1980, according to background information for the study.

Dr. Jeffrey Bernstein, director of the Florida Poison Information Center at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital, said sulfur dioxide is a known irritant, a byproduct of combustion, and a component of air pollution. "At high concentrations and prolonged exposure, it makes its way into the lower lungs and causes inflammation," he explained.

Although results of standard pulmonary function tests performed on the soldiers were unremarkable, the severity of their symptoms led doctors to perform the first biopsies, said Dr. Matthew King, lead author of the study and a fellow in pulmonary and critical care medicine at Vanderbilt.

"We were dealing with elite, trained people. They could run two miles in 12-and-a-half or 13 minutes before they were deployed," Miller said. "When we got them, at best they could walk-run two miles."

One soldier's pulmonary function was 115 percent at the time of deployment. Upon his return, that had declined to the low 80s -- although the low 80s is considered normal, the study authors said.

In all, 31 returning soldiers underwent biopsies in addition to chest X-rays, pulmonary function tests and high-resolution computed tomography. Of these, 29 were diagnosed with bronchiolitis. And, of these 29, 21 had been exposed to the sulfur mine fire in Mosul while five had "unknown exposures." In other words, some soldiers who were not deployed near the fire experienced similar problems.

"The speculation on [the five individuals with "unknown exposure"] is that when you're fighting a war in Iraq that you're exposed to a lot of fires that subject you to inhalation," Miller said. "They burn everything over there, all their trash, all their human waste, not to mention things like weapons caches and explosives."

Bernstein said: "It makes rational sense that sulfur dioxide could cause this disease in soldiers who had a pretty large known exposure. It's a very good study of this type, but there are some questions that they will need to address. What [the study] doesn't say is how many people were dispatched to that area and were exposed and didn't get bronchiolitis."

There is no good treatment for bronchiolitis, Miller said, and most of the soldiers studied have been medically discharged from the military. The good news is that the soldiers followed in this study have not seen any deterioration of their condition in the past two or two-and-a-half years.

All study participants were from the 101st Airborne Battalion based at Fort Campbell, Ky. But these troops weren't the only ones exposed to the Mosul fire. Other battalions also assisted in controlling the fire, King said, and may have been affected as well.

More information

The U.S. Army has more on the health effects of the Mosul fire.



SOURCES: Matthew King, M.D., fellow in pulmonary and critical care medicine, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tenn.; Robert Miller, M.D., assistant professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tenn.; Jeffrey Bernstein, M.D., medical director, Florida Poison Information Center at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital; May 21, 2008, presentation, American Thoracic Society's International Conference, Toronto


'/>"/>
Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Ragweed Season Doesnt Mean Suffering
2. New male sling procedure helps prostate cancer survivors who suffer from urinary incontinence
3. More Kids Are Suffering Sports Injuries
4. REACH Registry Highlights That Patients With Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) Suffer High Rates of Heart Attack, Stroke, Hospitalization, and Death
5. Alzheimers Patients May Suffer Silent Seizures
6. New study examines brain-gut relationship in those suffering with stomach pain or discomfort
7. European directive will halt use of MRI scans; cancer diagnosis and treatment will suffer
8. Meditation May Help Rheumatoid Arthritis Sufferers
9. Token resuscitation attempts on hopelessly ill patients prolong suffering
10. Women Share Hope for Anxiety Disorder Sufferers
11. Botox Offers Shot in Arm for Arthritis Sufferers
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... February 23, 2017 , ... ... a clinician-based audience, will be participating in Rare Disease Day events, hosted by ... In addition, Rare Disease Report, a website, weekly e-newsletter and quarterly publication, will ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... Hollywood, CA (PRWEB) , ... February 23, 2017 , ... ... pleased to announce that they are sponsoring a raffle. Throughout the month of February, ... Winners will receive a gift card for a dinner for two at the Cheesecake ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... Los Angeles, California (PRWEB) , ... February 23, ... ... for Global Sports Development will host a diverse symposium on “Doping ... School of Law and Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP. The symposium will ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... February 23, 2017 , ... ERT, a global data and ... Premier Research, a leading clinical development service provider, has selected ERT’s Trial Oversight ... due in part to an array of circumstances including the use of multiple ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... RI (PRWEB) , ... February 23, 2017 , ... ... today a new partnership with the Rhode Island Consortium for Autism Research and ... an opportunity for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to see films in ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/24/2017)... Feb 24, 2017 Research and Markets has ... and Strategies - 2016" report to their offering. ... The latest research Urinary ... data and benchmarks in the global Urinary Incontinence market. The ... are the key drugs marketed for Urinary Incontinence and their clinical ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... 2017 LG Innotek hat heute die weltweit ... beträgt das 1,5-fache des 45-mW-Moduls der Konkurrenz. ... 200 und 280 nm und eignet sich damit für Sterilisationsaufgaben. ... DNA zerstört. Das Produkt von LG Innotek erzeugt UV-Strahlung ... ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Menopause ... ... Drugs Price Analysis and Strategies - 2016, provides drug pricing data and ... questions: What are the key drugs marketed ... Global Menopause market? What are the unit prices and ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: