Effect of high altitude on pulmonary function in healthy school children

Radwa saeid Abdulrahman., Samah A. Moawd and Afrah Al-Bossly

Background: Conflicting results of various studies about the effect of altitude on pulmonary function and it has not been established decisively. So this study was conducted to compare the effect of high altitude versus normal altitude on pulmonary function in healthy school children. Materials and Methods: A cross sectional study was conducted in which the pulmonary function of a group of 150 children (80 boys and 70 girls) are living in high altitude and 150 children (90 boys and 60 girls) normal altitude living in Abha and Jeddah, KSA respectively; their ages ranged from 8-11 years old. SpirolabIII was used for assessment of spirometric values (forced expiratory volume in one second, forced vital capacity, peak expiratory flow rate, and maximal voluntary ventilation. Results: Significant difference between boys and girls in all measured pulmonary values at high attitude, while non significant difference between them at normal altitude. The mean pulmonary value of boys and girls at high altitude was significantly higher than those in normal altitude. Conclusion: The study suggested that, high altitude has an effect on pulmonary function in both sexes.

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