Kosin Med J.  2022 Dec;37(4):354-360. 10.7180/kmj.22.004.

Chronic obstructive lung disease after ammonia inhalation burns: a report of two cases

  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Dong-A University Hospital, Busan, Korea
  • 2Department of Pathology, Dong-A University Hospital, Busan, Korea


Anhydrous ammonia is a commonly used chemical in industry. Ammonia gas inhalation causes thermal injuries and alkali burns in the airway and lung parenchyma. Previous case reports have stated that respiratory sequelae after acute ammonia inhalation burns were associated with structural lung disease, such as bronchiectasis or interstitial lung disease. We herein report two cases of long-term sequelae with persistent airflow limitation after ammonia inhalation burns.


Ammonia; Chemical burns; Inhalation burns; Obstructive lung diseases; Respiratory function tests


  • Fig. 1. The chest computed tomography (CT) scan of case 1. (A) The initial chest CT scan with atelectasis (arrows) and (B) patch consolidation (arrows). The follow-up chest CT scan after 6 months with (C) atelectasis (arrowheads) and tubular bronchiectasis with mucus impaction (arrows) (D) after 1 year.

  • Fig. 2. Serial pulmonary function test results of cases 1 (A) and 2 (B). FVC, forced vital capacity; FEV1, forced expiratory volume in 1 second; Ref, reference.

  • Fig. 3. Bronchoscopy findings of cases 1 and 2. Chemical burn scar changes (arrows) on bronchoscopy performed at 6 months (A) and at 36 months (B) after exposure in case 1. Bronchoscopy findings at 6 months (C) and at 36 months (D) after exposure in case 2.

  • Fig. 4. Chest computed tomography (CT) scans and chest X-ray image of case 2. (A) The initial chest CT scan with diffuse ground-glass opacities (arrows) in both lower lobes. (B) The initial chest X-ray. (C) A follow-up chest CT scan after 12 months with multifocal ground-glass opacities and consolidations. (D) A follow-up chest CT scan after 24 months with no other abnormalities.



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