[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to determine whether respiratory therapists (RTs) had an elevated risk of respiratory symptoms and to determine the association of work exposures with symptoms.
Mailed questionnaire responses from 275 RTs working in British Columbia, Canada, were compared to those of 628 physiotherapists who had been surveyed previously. Analyses incorporated logistic regression analysis with adjustment for age, sex, smoking status, and childhood asthma.
Compared to physiotherapists, RTs had over twice the risk of being woken by dyspnea, having wheeze, asthma attacks, and asthma diagnosed after entering the profession. Among RTs, two work factors associated with asthma were sterilizing instruments with glutaraldehyde-based solutions and the use of aerosolized ribavirin. RTs who used an oxygen tent or hood had the highest risk of asthma diagnosed after entering the profession (odds ratio [OR], 8.3; 95% confidence interval [CI], 12.6 to 26.0) and of asthma attacks in the last 12 months (OR, 3.6; 95% CI, 1.2 to 10.9).
Our data suggest that RTs may be at an increased risk for asthma-like symptoms and for receiving a diagnosis of asthma since starting to work in their profession, possibly related to exposure to glutaraldehyde and aerosolized ribavirin.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The prevalence and occupational determinants of miscellaneous symptoms referred to as "Darkroom disease" was compared between radiographers and physiotherapists working in British Columbia, Canada.
The participation rate for the mailout questionnaire survey was 66.1%. A small subset underwent spirometry and methacholine challenge testing.
Radiographers had a higher prevalence of most symptoms, with an extreme odds ratio of 11.4 for chemical/metallic taste. The percentage of radiographers with non-specific bronchial hyperresponsiveness (NSBHR) was 3 times higher than that of physiotherapists, although the comparison was not statistically significant. Reporting inadequate ventilation, frequently detecting the odor of X-ray processing chemicals and cleaning up spills within the past 12 months were highly associated with most of the symptoms.
Our results suggest that differences in the prevalence of symptoms represent a complex process, both in exposure and response to the many constituents found in radiographic processing chemicals. Objective testing of health outcomes and more refined exposure measurements are recommended to further investigate occupational health problems of radiographers.
American Journal of Industrial Medicine 03/2003; 43(2):132-41. · 1.97 Impact Factor