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Chronic lung disease in the Papua New Guinea Highlands.
  1. H R Anderson


    In the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea 46 men and 24 women with chronic lung disease underwent clinical and lung function investigations. In all cases the sole or predominant abnormality was irreversible airways obstruction, probably from chronic bronchitis with variable amounts of acompanying emphysema. There were close similarities to chronic obstructife lung disease in European populations in terms of symptoms, airways obstruction, transfer factor, and radiographic emphysema and inflammatory changes. Bronchiectasis and local fibrosis were present in a few subjects, but previous reports that pulmonary and pleural fibrosis are features of the disease were not confirmed. Possibly environmental and genetic factors may increase the associated blood gas disturbances leading to pulmonary hypertension. Unlike chronic obstructive lung disease in European populations, tobacco smoking is not an important aetiological factor. Although there is no direct evidence, the most likely possibilities are domestic wood smoke and acute chest infections.

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