Objective: Although extensive work has been done on cigarette smoking and its effects on pulmonary function, there are limited number of studies on water-pipe smoking. The effects of water-pipe smoking on health are not widely investigated. The aim of this study was to determine the effects of water-pipe smoking on pulmonary permeability.
Methods: Technetium-99m DTPA inhalation scintigraphy was performed on 14 water-pipe smoker volunteers (all men, mean age 53.7 +/- 9.8) and 11 passive smoker volunteers (1 woman, 10 men, mean age 43.8 +/- 12). Clearance half-time (T 1/2) was calculated by placing a monoexponential fit on the time activity curves. Penetration index (PI) of the radioaerosol was also calculated.
Results: PI was 0.58 +/- 0.14 and 0.50 +/- 0.12 for water-pipe smokers (WPS) and passive smokers (PS) respectively. T 1/2 of peripheral lung was 57.3 +/- 12.7 and 64.6 +/- 13.2 min, central airways was 55.8 +/- 23.5 and 80.1 +/- 35.2 min for WPS and PS, respectively (p < or = 0.05). FEV1/FVC% was 82.1 +/- 8.5 (%) and 87.7 +/- 6.5 (%) for WPS and PS, respectively (0.025 < p < or = 0.05).
Conclusions: We suggest that water-pipe smoking effects pulmonary epithelial permeability more than passive smoking. Increased central mucociliary clearance in water-pipe smoking may be due to preserved humidity of the airway tracts.