A previous American College of Chest Physicians Consensus Statement on asthma in the workplace was published in 1995. The current Consensus Statement updates the previous one based on additional research that has been published since then, including findings relevant to preventive measures and work-exacerbated asthma (WEA).
A panel of experts, including allergists, pulmonologists, and occupational medicine physicians, was convened to develop this Consensus Document on the diagnosis and management of work-related asthma (WRA), based in part on a systematic review, that was performed by the University of Alberta/Capital Health Evidence-Based Practice and was supplemented by additional published studies to 2007.
The Consensus Document defined WRA to include occupational asthma (ie, asthma induced by sensitizer or irritant work exposures) and WEA (ie, preexisting or concurrent asthma worsened by work factors). The Consensus Document focuses on the diagnosis and management of WRA (including diagnostic tests, and work and compensation issues), as well as preventive measures. WRA should be considered in all individuals with new-onset or worsening asthma, and a careful occupational history should be obtained. Diagnostic tests such as serial peak flow recordings, methacholine challenge tests, immunologic tests, and specific inhalation challenge tests (if available), can increase diagnostic certainty. Since the prognosis is better with early diagnosis and appropriate intervention, effective preventive measures for other workers with exposure should be addressed.
The substantial prevalence of WRA supports consideration of the diagnosis in all who present with new-onset or worsening asthma, followed by appropriate investigations and intervention including consideration of other exposed workers.
"Approximately 50-82% of persons who suffer from DIA do not recover completely and need continuous anti-asthmatic therapy [5-8]. According to the literature, recovery depends on a series of prognostic factors, such as the lung volume at the beginning of exposure , the time of diagnosis [10,11], the degree of bronchial hyperreactivity , the length of exposure time [12,13], the duration of symptomatic exposure [11,14,15] and possibly the duration of follow-up [16,17]. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Isocyanates are among the most common causes of occupational asthma (OA) in Switzerland. Patients with OA have been shown to have unfavourable medical, socioeconomic and psychological outcomes. We investigated long-term asthma and the socio-economic outcomes of diisocyanate-induced asthma (DIA) in Switzerland.
Patients and methods
We conducted an observational study on 49 patients with DIA and followed 35 of these patients over a mean exposure-free interval of 12 ± 0.5 (range 11.0-13.0) years. At the initial and follow-up examinations, we recorded data on respiratory symptoms and asthma medication; measured the lung function; and tested for bronchial hyperreactivity. We allowed the patients to assess their state of health and overall satisfaction using a visual analogue scale (VAS) at these visits.
The 35 patients whom we could follow had a median symptomatic exposure time of 12 months, interquartile range (IQR) 26 months and a median overall exposure time of 51 (IQR 104) months. Their subjective symptoms (p < 0.001) and the use of asthma medication (p = 0.002), particularly the use of inhaled corticosteroids (p < 0.001), decreased by nearly 50%. At the same time, the self-assessment of the patients’ state of health and overall satisfaction increased considerably according to both symptomatology and income. In contrast, slight reductions in terms of FVC% predicted from 102% to 96% (p = 0.04), of FEV1% predicted from 91% to 87% (p = 0.06) and of the FEV1/FVC ratio of 3%; (p = 0.01) were observed while NSBHR positivity did not change significantly. In univariate as well as multivariate logistic analyses we showed significant associations between age, duration of exposure and FEV1/FVC ratio with persistent asthma symptoms and NSBHR.
We found that the patients’ symptoms, the extent of their therapy and the decrease in their lung volumes during the follow-up period were similar to the findings in the literature. The same hold true for some prognostic factors, whereas the patients’ self-assessment of their state of health and overall satisfaction improved considerably.
Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology 05/2014; 9(1):21. DOI:10.1186/1745-6673-9-21 · 1.62 Impact Factor
"Exposures in the workplace continue to contribute to asthma morbidity among adults and is a cause of disability and economic consequences for both the worker and the society [6, 7]. Asthma at worksite often goes unrecognized  and a correct and early diagnosis is important to limit consequences of the disease . Several hundred of occupational agents have been identified as causing work-related asthma, mainly allergens but also irritants such as ammonia, chlorine, sulfur dioxide and substances with unknown pathogenic mechanism . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Working conditions in the construction industry have improved in many industrialized countries, but heavy physical work with recurrent exposure to chemical agents, dust, and climatic influences still represents considerable risk for construction workers and may affect their health. The aim of this review is to analyze available data of the literature on allergy-related respiratory and skin disorders with emphasis on a preventive appraisal in order to produce statements and recommendations based on research evidence. The most common agents involved in the construction industry as a cause of occupational asthma (OA) in industrialized countries are isocyanates, wood dust, resins, glues, cobalt, and chromium. Allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) is an immunologic cell-mediated response to a sensitizing agent and the most common sensitizing agents associated with construction workers are epoxy resins, thiurams and thiazoles, and chromates. Medical surveillance must consider individual risk factors such as differences in individual susceptibility and sensitization to agents at workplace. Once work-related disorder is confirmed, adequate fitness for work should be assessed for the worker impaired by health condition. A reliable diagnosis of an index case is a sentinel event that may reveal risks for workers with similar exposure, leading to a revised risk assessment at the workplace that should reduce the risk and prevent further cases.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Reactive airway dysfunction syndrome (RADS) is a type of non-immunologically mediated asthma-like disease. It usually occurs after a massive exposure to an irritating substance in the atmosphere in the form of smoke, fumes, gases, and vapor. Unlike bronchial asthma, there is no latency to the symptoms seen in RADS. A number of agents are known to cause RADS, but tile dust, as an etiological agent, has not been previously reported. We report a 45-year-old male laborer, who presented with an acute onset of cough, chest tightness, breathlessness, and audible wheeze after his first time exposure to porcelain tile dust within 5 hours of exposure. Lab tests, including, chest X-ray, electrocardiogram, air blood gas analysis, and serum IgE, were unremarkable. Spirometry showed a mild obstruction [forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1)=72% of predicted], while the bronchodilator reversibility test was significant(14% increase in FEV1 above the baseline).Bronchial biopsy revealed a chronic inflammatory reaction with lymphocytic and plasma cell infiltration and more importantly a striking absence of eosinophils. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first reported case of RADS as a result of exposure to tile dust (porcelain ceramics).
Iranian Journal of Medical Sciences 06/2013; 38(2):132-4.
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