A lifelong non-smoker who was the victim of a massive accidental exposure to anhydrous ammonia gas was followed up for 10 years. In the acute phase the patient presented with severe tracheobronchitis and respiratory failure, caused by very severe burns of the respiratory mucosa. After some improvement he was left with severe and fixed airways obstruction. Isotope studies of mucociliary clearance, computed tomography, and bronchography showed mild bronchiectasis. It is concluded that acute exposure to high concentrations of ammonia may lead to acute respiratory injury but also to long term impairment of respiratory function.
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