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The Validation of Work-related Self-reported Asthma Exacerbation
  1. Aimee R Bolen (abolen{at}health-ra.com)
  1. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, United States
    1. Paul K Henneberger (pkh0{at}cdc.gov)
    1. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, United Kingdom
      1. Xiaoming Liang (xliang{at}cdc.gov)
      1. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, United States
        1. Susan R Sama (ssama{at}hsph.harvard.edu)
        1. Harvard School of Public Health; Department of Work Environment, UMASS, United States
          1. Peggy A Preusse (peggy.preusse{at}fallonclinic.com)
          1. Fallon Clinic Research Department, United States
            1. Richard A Rosiello (richard.rosiello{at}fallonclinic.com)
            1. Fallon Clinic Research Department, United States
              1. Donald K Milton (dmilton{at}hsph.harvard.edu)
              1. Harvard School of Public Health; Department of Work Environment, UMASS, United States

                Abstract

                Objectives: The objective of this study was to determine the validity of work-related self-reported exacerbation of asthma using the findings from serial peak expiratory flow (PEF) measurements as the standard.

                Methods: Adults with asthma treated in a health maintenance organization were asked to conduct serial spirometry testing at home and at work for 3 weeks. Self-reported respiratory symptoms and medication use were recorded in two ways: a daily log completed concurrently with the serial PEF testing and a telephone questionnaire administered after the PEF testing. Three researchers evaluated the serial PEF records and judged whether a work relationship was evident.

                Results: Ninety-five (25%) of 382 working adults with asthma provided adequate serial PEF data, and 13 (14% of 95) were judged to have workplace exacerbation of asthma based on these data. Self-reported concurrent medication use was the most valid single operational definition, with a sensitivity of 62% and a specificity of 65%.

                Conclusions: Self-reports of symptoms and medication use failed to identify many people who had evidence of workplace exacerbation of asthma based on serial PEF measurements.

                • asthma
                • serial spirometry
                • workplace studies

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