A house to house survey of everyone aged 20 years and above living in a rural community in the Hill Region of Nepal, situated about 16 km outside Kathmandu city, was conducted to determine the prevalence of chronic bronchitis and cor pulmonale. Of the total eligible population, 2826 (95.5%) were interviewed. Chronic bronchitis was diagnosed according to the British Medical Research Council criteria, and emphysema and cor pulmonale according to the World Health Organisation expert committee criteria. The crude prevalence of chronic bronchitis was found to be 18.3%. The prevalence rate of chronic bronchitis was similar in men and women, whereas in most parts of the world much lower rates have been recorded in women. Study of a random sample of 85 individuals with chronic bronchitis showed that 57.4% had evidence of airways obstruction, whereas 15.8% of a representative sample (n = 111) of the surveyed population (excluding those with chronic bronchitis) showed evidence of airway obstruction. Of 516 subjects diagnosed as having chronic bronchitis, 382 were subsequently investigated in hospital, 134 having declined further investigation. The diagnosis was confirmed in most of the patients (93.2%) who were investigated. Other diseases played an insignificant part in the production of the observed high prevalence rates of chronic bronchitis. Of the 382 patients studied in hospital, 87 had emphysema and 42 had cor pulmonale, yielding overall prevalence rates for these two conditions of at least 3.1% and at least 1.5% respectively.
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