Impact of Occupational Exposure on Severity of COPD

Respiratory Medicine Department, Hospital Universitari Vall d'Hebron, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, CIBER Enfermedades Respiratorias, Barcelona, Spain.
Chest (Impact Factor: 7.48). 09/2008; 134(6):1237-43. DOI: 10.1378/chest.08-0622
Source: PubMed


The relationship between occupational exposures and COPD has been analyzed in population-based and occupational cohort studies. However, the influence of these exposures on the clinical characteristics of COPD is not well known. The aim of this study was to analyze the impact of occupational exposures on respiratory symptoms, lung function, and employment status in a series of COPD patients.
We conducted a cross-sectional study of 185 male COPD patients. Patients underwent baseline spirometry and answered a questionnaire that included information on respiratory symptoms, hospitalizations for COPD, smoking habits, current employment status, and lifetime occupational history. Exposure to biological dust, mineral dust, and gases and fumes was assessed using an ad hoc job exposure matrix.
Having worked in a job with high exposure to mineral dust or to any dusts, gas, or fumes was associated with an FEV(1) of < 30% predicted (mineral dust: relative risk ratio, 11; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.4 to 95; dusts, gas, or fumes: relative risk ratio, 6.9; 95% CI, 1.1 to 45). High exposure to biological dust was associated with chronic sputum production (odds ratio [OR], 4.3; 95% CI, 1.6 to 12), dyspnea (OR, 2.7; 95% CI, 1.1 to 6.7), and work inactivity (OR, 2.4; 95% CI, 1.4 to 4.2). High exposure to dusts, gas, or fumes was associated with sputum production (OR, 2.8; 95% CI, 1.2 to 6.7) and dyspnea (OR, 1.2; 95% CI, 1.1 to 1.4).
Occupational exposures are independently associated with the severity of airflow limitation, respiratory symptoms, and work inactivity in patients with COPD.

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    • "In a community based cohort study using structured telephone interviews of 234 COPD patients, 25% reported respiratory disability at work and 16% reported both VDGF exposures and respiratory-related work disability [6]. In a patient series of 185 male patients, 34 had become unemployed (18%) due to COPD [9]. Our patient series is in agreement with these studies, with 28.5 % of patients reporting cessation of work due to breathing, which is likely associated to both social and economical consequences. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background The contribution of occupational exposures to COPD and their interaction with cigarette smoking on clinical pattern of COPD remain underappreciated. The aim of this study was to explore the contribution of occupational exposures on clinical pattern of COPD. Methods Cross-sectional data from a multicenter tertiary care cohort of 591 smokers or ex-smokers with COPD (median FEV1 49%) were analyzed. Self-reported exposure to vapor, dust, gas or fumes (VDGF) at any time during the entire career was recorded. Results VDGF exposure was reported in 209 (35%) subjects aged 31 to 88 years. Several features were significantly associated with VDGF exposure: age (median 68 versus 64 years, p < 0.001), male gender (90% vs 76%; p < 0.0001), reported work-related respiratory disability (86% vs 7%, p < 0.001), current wheezing (71% vs 61%, p = 0.03) and hay fever (15.5% vs 8.5%, p < 0.01). In contrast, current and cumulative smoking was less (p = 0.01) despite similar severity of airflow obstruction. Conclusion In this patient series of COPD patients, subjects exposed to VDGF were older male patients who reported more work-related respiratory disability, more asthma-like symptoms and atopy, suggesting that, even in smokers or ex-smokers with COPD, occupational exposures are associated with distinct patients characteristics.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2012 · BMC Public Health
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    ABSTRACT: The relationship between silica dust exposure in gold mines and the type of emphysema was studied in a group of 1,553 white gold miners who had undergone autopsy examination between 1974 and 1987. Of particular interest was the contrast between centriacinar and panacinar emphysema as they relate to silica exposure and the presence of silicosis. Subjects with significant emphysema, that is, with an emphysema score of 30% or more, were classified as having predominantly panacinar or predominantly centriacinar emphysema, and compared to those without emphysema (emphysema score less than or equal to 10%). Of those who had significant emphysema (greater than or equal to 30%), 24% had predominantly panacinar, 43% predominantly centriacinar, and 33% were classified as mixed. The odds ratios (OR) for the association between each emphysema type and dust exposure (one unit of the cumulative dust index) were found to be statistically significant and of equal magnitude [1.019, with a 95% confidence interval (CI) of 1.005 to 1.033 for panacinar and 1.019 with a 95% CI of 1.007 to 1.031 for centriacinar emphysema]. In 163 nonsmokers insignificant panacinar emphysema was more common than centriacinar emphysema. The results indicate that a miner with 20 yr in high-dust occupations has a 3.5 (1.7;6.6) times higher odds of having a significant degree of emphysema at autopsy than a miner not in a dusty occupation. This is likely to be true of smoking miners only because there were only four nonsmokers with an emphysema score between 30 and 40%.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
    Preview · Article · Jul 1991 · The American review of respiratory disease
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    ABSTRACT: To describe a respiratory disease prevention program in a US heavy-construction company. The program uses periodic spirometry and questionnaires and is integrated into a worksite wellness program involving individualized intervention. Spirometry Longitudinal Data Analysis (SPIROLA) technology is used to assist the physician with (i) management and evaluation of longitudinal spirometry and questionnaire data; (ii) designing, recoding, and implementing intervention; and (iii) evaluation of impact of the intervention. Preintervention data provide benchmark results. Preintervention results on 1224 workers with 5 or more years of follow-up showed that the mean rate of FEV1 decline was 47 mL/year. Age-stratified prevalence of moderate airflow obstruction was higher than that for the US population. Preintervention results indicate the need for respiratory disease prevention in this construction workforce and provide a benchmark for future evaluation of the intervention.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2011 · Journal of occupational and environmental medicine / American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
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