Introduction and objectives Eyjafjallajokull, a volcano in Iceland erupted on the 20th March 2010 after a prolonged period of seismic activity starting late 2009. Subsequent ash cloud formation on 14th April caused considerable disruption to Scottish and European airspace. Studies performed in Japan and the British West Indies showed that noxious by-products including sulphur dioxide, have a significant impact on asthma and COPD admissions and severity.1 2 The aim of this study was to record trends of hospitalisation for non-infective exacerbations of asthma and COPD from eruption until volcano quiescence.
Methods Data of all patients admitted to PRI over the period of 20 March 2010 to 31 May 2010 with shortness of breath was collected. Patients included were those with a diagnosis of non-infective asthma or COPD. Other admission diagnoses were excluded. We recorded diagnosis, age and sex.
Results 100 patients were admitted with shortness of breath during the study period. 12 patients were diagnosed with non-infective asthma (mean age 52, M:F=5:7) and 17 with non infective COPD (mean age 76, M:F=5:12). The preponderance of female admissions has been noted in previous studies.2 Ash cloud formation occurred at day 26 with closure of Scottish airports at day 27, 45, 51 and 58. Ash production subsided day 63. We observed a cluster of admissions from day 22 to day 37.
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