Quality of Spirometry Tests in Periodic Examination of Workers
Spirometry is a tool for screening and early diagnosis of harms caused by occupational respiratory exposures. Since spirometry results largely depend on the spirometry method, their credibility and acceptability may vary. Accordingly, this cross-sectional study was conducted to assess the quality of spirometry procedures and reports in the periodic examinations of workers in an industry. The study assessed a total number of 506 recorded spirometry test results related to the periodic examinations of 190 workers in an industry between 2005 and 2015. Each test was assessed in terms of ATS (American Thoracic Society) standards and the quality of reporting, and the obtained results were compared with the spirometry tests conducted by the research team. The most common error in performing these tests was the failure to allow for the 6-second exhalation (in 70% of the cases). After removing the effect of increasing age, it was found that the reported FVC (Forced Vital Capacity) and FEV1 (Forced Expiratory Volume in one second ) in these tests were different from those in the standard spirometry tests performed by the research team by 5% in more than half of the cases and by more than 10% in a quarter of the cases. The results revealed the poor quality of the spirometry tests in the periodic examinations of the workers. Therefore, it is recommended to train the spirometry operators and monitor more vigorously the quality of spirometry tests in the occupational examinations.
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